Inside Kobe & Gianna Bryant’s Memorial: Beyoncé, Michael Jordan, & More Stars Honor Their Memory

On February 24, the Staples Center in Los Angeles hosted a memorial service for Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna. Three weeks ago, Kobe and his 13-year-old daughter tragically died in a helicopter crash, and many have been reeling ever since. Now, stars have the opportunity to pay their respects to these two and honor their memory. Some stars, like Beyoncé and Jimmy Kimmel, are part of today’s service. Others have taken to social media to say they’re thinking of Kobe and Gianna, and share a moment of solidarity.

Instead of programs for today’s service, attendees are getting a pamphlet of photos of Kobe and Gianna. Find out how else Kobe and Gianna’s lives were honored today.

Beyoncé

Beyoncé opened the service with emotional performances of “XO” (one of Kobe’s favorite songs) and “Halo.” She also shared her personal feelings on the Bryant family: “I’m here because I love Kobe.”

Michael Jordan

“In the game of basketball, in life, as a parent, Kobe left nothing in the tank. He left it all on the floor,” said Michael Jordan. “Everyone always wanted to talk about the comparisons between he and I. I just wanted to talk about Kobe…He wanted to be the best basketball player that he could be. And as I got to know him, I wanted to be the best big brother that I could be.”

Trying and failing to hold back tears, Jordan also made a reference to the Crying Jordan meme. “I told my wife I wasn’t going to do this because I didn’t want to see this for another three or four years…This is what Kobe Bryant does to you.”

Jimmy Kimmel

“I don’t think any of us could have imagined this,” Kimmel said at Monday’s service, barely holding back tears. “Everywhere you go, you see his face, his number — Gigi’s face, Gigi’s number. Everywhere, at every intersection, there are hundreds of murals painted by artists who were inspired, not because he was a basketball player but because Kobe was an artist too. And not just in LA: across the country, in Kobe’s hometown Philadelphia; in Italy; in India; the Phillippines, China, New York, Phoenix, Boston, for God’s sake. In places where he would be booed on the court, Kobe is missed.”

Vanessa Bryant

Next, widow Vanessa Bryant took the stage: “Gianna Bryant is an amazingly sweet and gentle soul. She was always thoughtful,” she said of her daughter. “She was daddy’s girl but I know she loved her mamma. She was one of my very best friends.”

Vanessa then spoke about Kobe: “He was the most amazing husband. Kobe loved me more than I could ever express or put into words. We loved each other with our whole beings, two perfectly imperfect people making a beautiful family and raising our sweet and amazing girls.”

Alicia Keys

Alicia Keys played Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata at the memorial, a piece with emotional significance for Vanessa and Kobe.

Christina Aguilera

Christina Aguilera performed an emotional rendition of “Ave Maria” for the crowd.

Shaquille O’Neal

Shaquille O’Neal, ofte painted as a rival of Kobe’s, shared an anecdote that had the crowd chuckling. While telling Kobe he needed to pass the ball more, he said: “I told Kobe, ‘there’s no I in team,” and he said ‘I know, but there’s a ME in that motherfucker.'”

Sabrina Ionescu

Oregun Ducks player Sabrina Ionescu spoke about mentor Kobe Bryant: “I ask each of you, every Girl Dad, every human here with a voice, a platform and a heart, to not let his sun set. Shine for us, for our sport where he once did. Invest in us with the same passion and drive and respect and love as he did his own daughter. In the end, she was a sun just starting to rise, and God did she glow. May their light forever shine.”

Diana Taurasi

“In 1996, I was a lanky awkward freshman in high school, obsessively shooting night after night in my driveway,” WNBA star Diana Taurasi said. “On the nights the Lakers played, I wouldn’t miss a second of the game. Every timeout, every commercial, I’d run to the front yard to imitate my favorite Laker, Kobe…Watching Kobe play the Great Western Forum as a rookie made this little girl believe she could be a Laker one day. It was like getting to know myself every single day.”

Click here to see more stars we’ve lost in 2020.

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