Vanessa Bryant, Shaq, Michael Jordan Speak Kobe’s Memorial
Vanesa Bryant, Shaquille O’Neal and Michael Jordan all spoke at Kobe Bryant’s memorial on Monday afternoon.
Kobe, his 13-year-old daughter Gianna and seven others died in a helicopter crash on January 26 of this year. Although a private ceremony was held for those whose lives were lost a few weeks ago on February 7, a public memorial was set for today.
The date, 2/24, was picked to honor Gianna whose basketball jersey number was 2 and Kobe whose basketball jersey number was 24.
Vanessa led the way in the emotional proceedings, describing what Kobe meant to her, their family and the world.
“He was the most amazing husband,” she said.
“Kobe was the MVP of Girl Dads.”
Vanessa Bryant remembers her husband Kobe’s dedication to fatherhood. pic.twitter.com/kem7DMJBmn
— CBS Sports HQ (@CBSSportsHQ) February 24, 2020
“Kobe loved me more than I could ever express or put into words. I was fire. He was ice. Vice versa at times. … He was my everything.”
Vanessa also lovingly described Gianna.
“Her smile was like sunshine,” Vanessa said.
Vanessa Bryant remembers Kobe: “Babe, take care of our Gigi. And I got Nani, Bibi and Coco. We’re still the best team.”
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) February 24, 2020
“Her smile took up her entire face. Like me. Kobe always said she was like me. She had my fire, my personality and sarcasm.
“She was tender and loving on the inside. She had the best laugh. She had the best laugh. It was infectious. It was pure and genuine.”
Michael Jordan helping Vanessa Bryant after down the stage after her eulogy for Kobe and Gianna Bryant pic.twitter.com/clXQECgQ5s
— Rob Lopez (@r0bato) February 24, 2020
Jordan, a hero of Kobe’s, also spoke at the event.
“What Kobe Bryant was to me, was the inspiration that someone truly cared about the way either I played the game, or the way that he wanted to play the game,” he said.
“He wanted to be the best basketball player that he could be. And as I got to know him, I wanted to be best big brother that I could be.”
Jordan storms to the court, dunks in the face of Crying Jordan, kills it forever pic.twitter.com/ap3FIEVFhe
— Timothy Burke (@bubbaprog) February 24, 2020
Jordan then added: “When Kobe died, a piece of me died.”
O’Neal offered a similar sentiment, acknowledging that he loved Bryant despite their sometimes strained relationship.
Shaq tells a story about telling Kobe there’s no I in team, and Kobe said “I know, but here’s an M and an E in that motherf*cker” pic.twitter.com/PTRarVYOpy
— CJ Fogler (@cjzero) February 24, 2020
He offered a particularly funny story, as well. O’Neal described a time when he told a young Bryant that there is no “I” in team, only for the star to reply: “I know, but there’s a ‘M-E’ in that mother f**ker.”
Bryant’s passing caused an outpouring of grief across Los Angeles and the United States as a whole.
The hope is that Monday’s memorial will provide a pathway for people to begin the healing process, all while paying respect o the legacy that Bryant ultimately left behind.