Watch Kobe & Gianna Bryant's Public Memorial Service [Live Stream]
The life of Kobe Bryant was honored at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.
On Monday afternoon (February 24th), the Staples Center hosted the public memorial service for Kobe and Gianna Bryant. The service follows a private burial held earlier this month. The public memorial service was broadcasted on ESPN, ABC, and BET’s Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube accounts.
READ: Vanessa Bryant Shares Her First Social Media Post on Kobe & Gianna’s Passing: “I Wish They Were Here With Us Forever”
The service included observations from Kobe’s wife Vanessa Bryant; NBA legend Michael Jordan; ex-Laker teammate Shaquille O’Neal; WNBA star Diana Taurasi; University of Connecticut Huskies coach Geno Auriemma; General Manager of the Los Angeles Lakers Rob Pelinka; University of Oregon star Sabrina Ionescu; and more. The service was mediated by Jimmy Kimmel.
Beyonce started the ceremony by performing “XO” and “Halo,” two of Bryant’s “favorite” songs.
Later on in the ceremony, Grammy Award-winning singer and pianist Alicia Keys played Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata in tribute to Bryant.
The speeches were the most touching moments of the ceremony. Vanessa Bryant had the most powerful speech. Fighting back tears, she had nothing but loving words for her late husband and 13-year-old daughter. The first part of her speech was dedicated toward Gianna, saying: “Gigi was sunshine…She brightened up my day every day.”
She then talked about Kobe, who she called her “soulmate, saying, “He was thoughtful and wrote the best love letters and cards.”
She finished her speech by saying:
They were funny, happy, silly and they loved life. God knew they couldn’t be on this earth without each other. He had to bring them home to heaven together…Babe, you take care of our Gigi.
Michael Jordan then took the stage and shared personal stories from Bryant, who he likened to a little brother on multiple occasions. He reminisced on Bryant seeking him out for advice at inconvenient hours of the day. Jordan, who was crying, also mentioned the infamous crying meme from his Hall of Fame speech from 2009:
Now he’s got me…I’m going to have to look at another crying meme. I told my wife I wasn’t going to do this because I didn’t want to see it for the next three, four years. That is what Kobe Bryant does to me.
Following Shaq, who played with Kobe for eight seasons, winning three titles in the process. Kobe and Shaq had a relationship that was, at times, strained. Shaq did not hide from this fact. He told a humorous story of Kobe refusing to pass the ball. He said he told Kobe “there’s no ‘I’ in team.” Kobe, Shaq said, replied, “I know. But there’s an ‘M-E’ in that motherfucker.”
He ended the speech calling Kobe “heaven’s MVP.”
According to USA Today writer Mark Medina, those in attendance are receiving a special T-shirt and program. According to reports, there were only 20,000 made.
Those attending Kobe and Gianna Bryant’s memorial are receiving this T-Shirt and this program pic.twitter.com/Jfi44r6waV
— Mark Medina (@MarkG_Medina) February 24, 2020
Front and back the Kobe and Gianna Celebration of Life program and the front and back of the commemorative ticket. pic.twitter.com/s4LfagEduI
— Jeff Zillgitt (@JeffZillgitt) February 24, 2020
Before the ceremony started, Nike debuted a new commercial dedicated to Kobe Bryant called “Mamba Forever.” They also played the ad during the ceremony.