Yesterday the city of Los Angeles met at the Staples Center to pay a very emotional tribute and last farewell to NBA star Kobe Bryant and his daughter, Gianna Bryant.
Kobe Bryant and Gianna died on January 26, 2020 in a tragic helicopter crash in Calabasas, California. His death shocked the whole world and we have not yet ceased to mourn his unexpected loss.
Since his death, countless tributes such as the performance of Alicia Keys and Boyz II Men during the 62nd edition of the Grammy Awards, Mayor Eric Garcetti’s spectacular lighting of the Los Angeles City Council, the TRIBUTE of NFL players, lined up at the 24-yard line during the 54th edition of the Superbowl or the tribute of NBA players during the 69th edition of the All-Star Game, where Lebron James’ team wore the number 2 in Gianna’s honor for being the one he wore at Mamba Academy Basketball and the Antetokounmpo team wore the 24th Kobe , along with Jennifer Hudson’s stellar performance, among others. An intimate and private ceremony was held on February 7, 2020 at Pacific View Memorial Park in Corona del Mar, California, attended by only his wife Vanesa and daughters Natalia, Bianca and Capri.
As it could not happen otherwise, the Staples center, which was Kobe Bryant’s home during his 20-year professional career, served as a perfect setting for paying tribute to both him and his daughter Gianna. A tribute that has become, along with that of Michael Jackson, Elvis Presley or Diana of Wales, one of the most crowded acts in history. The date of this act was not chosen at random, but is loaded with an entertaining symbolism, 24/02/ 2020. The 24th, Kobe Bryant’s issue in the Lakers, Gianna’s 2th at Mamba Academy and 2020 representing both his NBA years and marriage to his wife Vanesa. Legends and basketball players such as Bill Russell, Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, Shaquille O’Neal, Pau Gasol, Lebron James, Stephen Curry, Chris Paul, Doc Rivers, Rick Fox, Kyle Irving, Steve Nash, Phil Jackson, Gregg Popovich, Dereck Fisher, Dwayne Wade, Diana Taurasi among others came to the ceremony. And Celebrities Like J.Lo And Alex Rodriguez, Kim And Khloe Kardashian, Kayne West, Kris Jenner, Alicia Keys, Paula Abdul, Queen Latifa, Michael Phelps, Christian Aguilera, Jay-Z, Snoop Dogg among others.
Beyoncé Knowles opened up the funeral ceremony with a great rendition of Kobe Bryant’s favorite “XO” song. He also sang “Halo” amid tears and applause from the audience. After the performance of “Queen B” there was an emotional projection of Kobe’s prolific career. A review of his 20 years at the Lakers, in which, once again, his extraordinary legacy was noted. After the video, the next to take the stage was comedian and actor Jimmy Kimmel, director of the ceremony, who, deeply excitedly, dedicated some beautiful words to the player, his daughter and his family.
Then came one of the most poignant moments of the night: Vanessa Bryant’s speech. It was the first time Vanessa spoke publicly after the accident and with a fully broken voice began her speech by recalling, first, her daughter and then her husband for 20 years, surrounded by the warm, emotional applause of the concentrated crowd at the Staples center. “God knew they couldn’t be on this earth apart, He had to take them away together. May both rest in peace and have fun in heaven until we meet again one day. We love you both and miss you. Forever, Mommy” concluded and dropped off stage on Michael Jordan, while Alicia Keys played the piano on Beethoven’s midnight sonata.
They also expressed their condolences and encouragement to the grieving Geno Auriemma family, a University of Connecticut coach and former women’s basketball coach in the US to talk about Gianna and highlight Kobe’s figure as coach; and Rob Pelinka, general manager and former agent of Kobe Bryant.
Other exciting moments of the ceremony were speeches given by Michael Jordan and Shaquille O’Neal. The first, a vivate tear, expressed that Kobe Bryant “could be the best basketball player I’ve ever seen” and praised his figure as an entrepreneur and father. He added, “When Kobe Bryant died, a piece of me died.” “Those are the memories with which we have to live and learn, I promise you that from now on I live with the memories of knowing that I had a little brother. Rest in peace, little brother.” For his part, Shaquille O’Neal noted “(…) ever, could ever have imagined that he would be here today speaking at his memorial. And it hurts all the way down. Like all of you, I am still devastated by the loss of my friend, my little brother Kobe Bryant and my beautiful niece Gigi.” and spoke lovingly and affectionately about their love-hate relationship.
After the speeches,Christina Aguilera went on stage to sing on Ave Maria in Italian in honor of Kobe and Gianna Bryant, a sublime interpretation that provoked the ovation of the entire stadium. And, finally, the event closed with the video that made him the first NBA star to win an Oscar, “Dear Basketball.”
We say goodbye with deep and inexplicable bitterness and we will remind you forever. Rest in peace.