Vanessa Bryant speaks during a celebration of life for her husband Kobe Bryant and daughter Gianna in Los Angeles.

Vanessa Bryant speaks during a celebration of life for her husband Kobe Bryant and daughter Gianna Monday, Feb. 24, 2020, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

Marcio Jose Sanchez, Associated Press

The most moving and memorable moments from the Kobe Bryant memorial service

Here’s what happened at the ‘Celebration of Life’ event

Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna Bryant and the seven others who died in a helicopter crash at the end of January were honored in a “Celebration of Life” event at Staples Center in Los Angeles on Monday, Feb. 24 — a date chosen to honor Bryant (who wore No. 24 for the Los Angeles Lakers) and 13-year-old Gianna (who wore No. 2 for her middle school team).

The event included a number of high-profile speakers and performers, like Alicia Keys, Christina Aguilera, Beyonce and Shaquille O’Neal, who honored the late Los Angeles Lakers star and those who were lost in the helicopter crash.

More than just a memorial service, the celebration of the Bryants and their friends touched on themes of faith, dedication to family and how devotion to a craft can lead to a longstanding legacy.

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Former NBA player Michael Jordan cries while speaking during a celebration of life for Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna Monday, Feb. 24, 2020, in Los Angeles.

Marcio Jose Sanchez, Associated Press

And it began with late night talk show host Jimmy Kimmel, who kicked off the service, explaining how all proceeds from the memorial service would be donated to the Mamba and Mambacita Foundation. Kimmel then turned emotional as he opened up about Bryant.

“I don’t think any of us could have imagined this. Everywhere you go you see his face, his number, Gigi’s face, Gigi’s number. Everywhere and every intersection,” he said.

Kimmel said Bryant’s death taught him one lesson.

“The best thing I think I was able to come with is this: gratitude. It seems that all we can do was be grateful for the time we had with them and the time we have left with each other, and that’s all,” he said.

Kimmel spoke about how the Catholic faith focuses on peace. Bryant and his family often attended Catholic mass. In fact, the Bryant family attended a Mass in Orange County the day of the crash.

“In the Catholic Church, you know, which the Bryant family is part of, at mass we share the sign of peace,” he said. “This is a moment to hug or shake hands with people around you, and it occurred to me that that is something that only seems to happen at church and at sporting events, when perfect strangers who love the same team are suddenly hugging and high-fiving and celebrating together.” 

Kimmel’s remarks were among the emotional and memorable moments of the event. Others included:

  • Vanessa Bryant tearfully remembered her husband and daughter. “The outpouring of love and support from people around the world has been uplifting. Thank you for all of your prayers.”
  • Michael Jordan talked about how Bryant was like a little brother. “I admired him because his passion, you rarely see someone who’s trying to actively improve every day.”
  • Los Angeles Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka remembered Bryant’s final text.
  • Beyonce performed one of Bryant’s favorite songs.

Follow the stream below for other major moments from the memorial service.

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February 18, 2020 10:28 AM