There were a lot of tears today at the Los Angeles Staples Center as sports fans, celebrities, and public figures said their final goodbye to NBA legend Kobe Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna Bryant, during the public memorial services. Beyonce opened the service with a beautiful rendition of “Halo” and “XO” backed by an all-white choir and live band. Stars descended to the Staples Center to offer their respects to Bryant, who died in a tragic helicopter crash on January 26, 2020, in Calabasas, California.
Vanessa Bryant, his widow, took to the podium to offer a tearful tribute to her late husband and daughter. “Gigi was sunshine,” she said, using her daughter’s nickname. “She brightened up my day every day.”
The mother reminisced about her little girl being a proud “daddy’s girl” and how she wanted to follow in her father’s footsteps. “Gigi was confident, but not in an arrogant way,” she said. “She loved helping and teaching other people things at school.
She went on to describe Kobe as a man with a “tender heart” who adored tear-jerking romantic comedies and personal time with his family watching movies. She continued to praise him as a doting father who was always present for her and their girls. “He was thoughtful and wrote the best love letters and cards,” she said. “God knew they couldn’t be on this earth without each other. He had to bring them home to heaven together.”
NBA legend Micheal Jordan also took to the podium to deliver an emotional goodbye to his longtime friend. “In the game of basketball, in life, as a parent, Kobe left nothing in the tank,” said Jordan, addressing the crowd. “He left it all on the floor.” Despite their longtime rivalry, the two basketball stars maintained a great relationship with Bryant often coming to Jordan for advice. “He wanted to be the best basketball player that he could be,” Jordan continued. “And as I got to know him, I wanted to be the best big brother that I could be.”
Watch the full speeches from Vanessa Bryant and Micheal Jordan below.