The memorial for basketball champion Kobe Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, was held at the Staples Center on Monday.
In what was a very solemn and highly emotional event, the date of the memorial – 2/24 – was chosen to pay homage to the jersey numbers of the former Los Angeles Lakers legend and his daughter, who was affectionately called Gigi.
The ceremony in “The House That Kobe Built” was attended by current and past basketball players, family, close associates as well as thousands of fans. Streamed live on social media, the memorial featured tributes from his wife, former teammates and friends. There were also captivating performances from the likes of Beyoncé and Alicia Keys.
As we celebrate the life of one of the greatest basketball players of all time, join Nsuri as we highlight some of the emotional and solemn moments of the memorial.
— The Association on FOX (@TheAssociation) February 24, 2020
Beyoncé’s opening performance
The memorial began with a performance from Beyoncé. The award-winning songstress performed her hit song XO, which she revealed was Kobe’s favorite, and then Halo.
Vanessa Bryant’s tribute
Vanessa’s paid a touching tribute to her husband and daughter with fond memories of them.
“God knew they couldn’t be on this earth without each other. He had to bring them home to heaven together,” she said.
Michael Jordan’s tribute and meme joke
The former basketball legend, while delivering a teary speech, joked about his watery eyes being used as a meme once again.
Shaq’s hilarious recollection on when Kobe earned his respect
Shaq, who played alongside Kobe for the Lakers and won two championships together, shared a funny story on when his friend earned his respect.
Vanessa, when you told me the Moonlight Sonata is such a beautiful part of your love story bc Kobe vowed to learn it for you, I was speechless… I felt the depth of your love for each other & your girls with every note I played today. The love between u lights up the world. pic.twitter.com/NeVOggET3k
— Alicia Keys (@aliciakeys) February 24, 2020
Alicia Keys’ performance
The songstress played Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata, a song Kobe learned to play for his wife, Vanessa.
— Variety (@Variety) February 24, 2020
Rob Pelinka’s tribute
The LA Lakers General Manager, who was one of Kobe’s best friends, emotionally recalled the last text he received from Kobe, which was while he was on board the helicopter that later crashed. According to him, Kobe wanted his help with finding an internship opportunity for the daughter of one of the crash victims, John Altobelli.