Kobe-Gianna Memorial Service: Vanessa Bryant, MJ And Shaq Speak

LOS ANGELES, CA — A public memorial for Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna was held Monday in the Staples Center. The service took place nearly one month after the father and daughter died with seven others in a helicopter crash near Calabasas, California.

The service began with Beyonce performing her songs “XO,” which she said was one of Kobe’s favorites and “Halo.” After Jimmy Kimmel, who served as the host for the event welcomed the crowd, and Vanessa Bryant gave a moving euology about her husband and their daughter.

Among the other speakers were Michael Jordan, Shaquille O’Neal, Diana Taurasi, Rob Pelinka, Sabrina Lonescu and Geno Auriemma.

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The crowd also included Lakers greats such as Jerry West, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Magic Johnson and Pau Gasol. Among other notable NBA figures in attendance were Commissioner Adam Silver, Phil Jackson, Stephen Curry, James Hards, Kyrie Irving and Russell Westbrook.

The date of the service, Feb. 24, paid homage to Bryant’s jersey number with the Lakers.

The memorial was televised on ESPN and NBA TV, and you can re-watch the service above on Patch with the official Lakers’ stream. The event began around 10 a.m. PST (1:00 p.m. ET) and lasted until 12:30 PST.

The memorial hosted nearly 20,000 people, including celebrities, athletes and fans who bought a limited number of tickets. Organizers of the service, local officials and police all urged people before hand without tickets to avoid the Staples Center and the entire L.A. Live area.

“We hope that everybody heeds the message and they stay either in their offices, surrounded by their friends or at home with their family or loved ones, because it’s going to be a very emotional memorial for that day and we want people to be able to enjoy it,” Staples Center President Lee Zeidman recently told local reporters outside the venue.

LAPD Chief Michael Moore told the Los Angeles Times that “this entire area (Staples Center) will be barricaded off. As a matter of respect … honor the family wishes and allow this event to go as smoothly as possible.”

Additionally, the large video screens outside the L.A. Live complex were turned off.

Tickets for Monday’s service ranged from $24 to $224, with over 80,000 people applying for the ticket lottery. Proceeds will be donated to the Mamba and Mambacita Sports Foundation.

Along with Bryant and his daughter Gianna, here are the seven people also killed in the crash:

Honoring Kobe

Since Kobe’s passing, the National Basketball Association has honored the all-time great in a number of ways, such as NBA Commissioner Adam Silver renaming the All-Star Game MVP Award to the Kobe Bryant MVP Award.

The All-Star Game in 2020 also had multiple nods to the Bryant family, including all participating players wearing either No. 2 for Gianna or No. 24 for Bryant. Additionally, both teams wore nine patches on their jerseys to honor the nine victims of the helicopter crash.

With special regard to Kobe, the All-Star Game finished with an untimed quarter to 24 points.

Separately from the All-Star Game, several NBA players changed their jersey numbers from 8 or 24 since Kobe’s death out of respect, including Spencer Dinwiddie of the Brooklyn Nets, Terrence Ross of the Orlando Magic, Jahlil Okafor of the New Orleans Pelicans and a few others.

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