Spike Lee, Kim and Khloé Kardashian, Jennifer Lopez, Alex Rodriguez, LL Cool J, Queen Latifah, Snoop Dogg, NBA greats, and players from every team in the league were among those who gathered at the Staples Center in Los Angeles to celebrate the life of Kobe Bryant and his daughter, Gianna. In all, it's estimated that more than 20-thousand people were in attendance.
Here’s what went down…
Beyoncé opened up with Kobe’s favorite song, “XO,” and went into “Halo.” Even though she looked stunning in a gold pantsuit, the organizers of the event allegedly told Associated Press editors and Getty Images not to take pictures of her. Later she sat behind Vanessa Bryant, comforting her at times as the tears flowed.
Then, emcee Jimmy Kimmel officially welcomed everyone - and he couldn’t hold back his emotions either.
Vanessa made her first public appearance, giving an emotional look at both her baby girl and her husband. She ended by telling Kobe to take care of their Gigi, and she’d look after their other girls, Natalia, Bianka, and Capri.
WNBA star Diana Taurasi and Oregon Ducks standout Sabrina Ionescu both spoke about being inspired by Kobe and excited about Gigi’s future as a baller. Meanwhile, UConn Coach Geno Ariemma didn’t want to speak on basketball. The coach at Gigi’s dream school instead wanted to talk fatherhood.
Rob Pelinka was Kobe’s agent turned best friend and Gigi’s godfather. He broke Kobe down as a friend, a dad, and a husband. One especially poignant story Rob told was about Kobe missing Vanessa while he was on the road. He decided that he was going to teach himself to play Beethoven’s “Moonlight Sonata” on the piano because it was one of their favorite songs. Since Kobe wasn’t there to play it, Alicia Keys did the honors with a string quartet.
Michael Jordan didn’t even try to hold back the tears as he spoke about the man who started off as an annoying little brother who turned into one of his dearest friends. He said, “Now [Kobe’s] got me...I got to look at another crying meme for the next…three or four years,” and the crowd erupted in laughter. “This is what Kobe Bryant does to me.”
The last speaker of the day was Shaquille O’Neal. He spoke about their complicated relationship that sometimes saw them fight. But at the end of the day, Shaq was proud of the respect and love they had for each other.
Christina Aguilera sang “Ave Maria” in Italian, and the service closed with his Oscar winning animated short, “Dear Basketball.”
Source: Dr. Dave’s Ultimate Prep
Photo Credit: Getty Image