Many celebrities from different walks of life joined a crowd of over 20, 000 at the staples centre to pay their last respect to Kobe and Gianna Bryant. It was an emotional event that was star-studded. The mourners present at the event included big names in basketball like Magic Johnson, Shaquille O’Neal, Lisa Leslie, Bill Russell to mention a few.
None less than one of the GOAT of Basketball – Michael Jordan – was up on the podium to give a befitting tribute to Kobe. Jordan started by likening the relationship he had with Kobe to that between a senior between a person and his little brother. Kobe to him was that little brother who was always willing to learn from an older brother he was so proud of. The Chicago Bulls legend recalled how Bryant as a young basketball player coming up, will call him late at night to ask him about the game of basketball. Issues like footwork, post-up moves and other aspects of the game he wished to perfect.
Jordan said that” nuisance ” blossomed into a loving friendship and brotherhood between himself and the late Bryant. He said Kobe wanted to be the best basketball player possible and he wanted to be the best big brother to him as their relationship grew stronger and he got to know him better.
A video of jordans induction speech became an internet sensation, and the 57-year-old laughed it off saying he might have to bear another meme after his Monday tribute. He lights heartedly referred to the time he shared tears while delivering the acceptance speech on his induction into the hall of fame. He spoke about a piece of him dying when Bryant died. He said that he believed that it was the same for every one lost a piece of themselves. And he solemnly promised that ” from this day forward, I will live with the memories of knowing that I had a little brother that I tried to help in every way I could. Please rest in peace, little brother.”
Beyonce welcomed the fans in the packed staples arena with a beautiful rendition OF “XO” featuring the lyrics, “In the darkest night hour, I’ll search through the crowd/Your face is all that I see; I’ll give you everything.” which seem to fit in well with the ceremony. She said that she was around to pay her last respect to Kobe because he loved him and the choice of the song” XO” was informed by her knowledge of the fact that Bryant loved the song. She performed with a choir and band that was clad in all white and she enjoined everyone to join her singing.
Jimmy Kimmel – the host of the late-night show – took to the stage to continue with his Mc duties. He pointed out that Bill Russell wore a Bryant jersey to the Lakers-Celtics matchup the night before.
Kimmel introduced Vanessa Bryant with after saying that even people who booed the late icon sometimes due to team support and rivalries in the game will miss him
She started by paying tribute to their daughter who died with her father in the ill-fated crash. She said that the pair shared a strong bond and Kobe and Gianna gravitated towards each other. They had a knack for learning the lyrics of songs very fast after listening to those songs a few times. Vanessa said her daughter was a multi-talented athlete who was good in gymnastics, soccer, softball, dance and basketball. She was confident, courageous and “arrogant in a positive way.” She offered to teach the boy’s basketball team some rudiments of the game.
She moved on to her husband whom she called her soulmate. She told them stories about his romantic side. How he went out of his way to make every valentine and anniversary memorable. She once bought her the blue dress actor Rachel McAdams wore in “The Notebook.” She said that he was not a celebrity to her neither did she just view him as an incredible basketball player.
Forloves former teammate Shaquille O’Neal with whom Bryant won three rings, Los Angeles, he was a Renaissance man and a loyal friend.
The night ended with “Dear Basketball”. That was Kobe Bryant’s Oscar-winning farewell ode to the game. The ode played on the very same Jumbotron which was used to show replays of his dunks and other heroics on the court.
The crowd filed out of the staples centre with “unforgettable” by Nat King Cole playing over the sound system. Jimmy Kimmel offered advice that mirror’s Kobe’s legacy which is that people should work hard and keep their loved ones always close.