Thousands of people packed inside the Staples Center and people all around the world spent most of Monday remembering Gianna and Kobe Bryant.
After a month in mourning over the stunning loss of Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna and seven others in a horrific helicopter crash, Los Angeles as a collective city got to publically celebrate the life of Kobe and Gianna.
Monday morning was the public life celebration held at Staples Center, it was an emotional affair that highlighted Kobe Bryant the superstar, father, and husband. The celebration was also about the potential lost when Gianna Bryant was taken away way too young, and the impact someone could make in just a short time.
The thousands in attendance and the likely millions who watched from home were given an opportunity to embrace Kobe and his mourning family again showing all the love they showed in the immediate aftermath of the accident.
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Those able to attend the event purchased tickets that benefited the Mamba and Mambacita Sports Foundation, the Bryant Family foundation for charitable giving.
The program was a star-studded event with a virtual who’s who from the NBA’s present and legendary past.
Musical interludes dotted the program which featured speakers and highlights of both Kobe and Gianna on and off the court.
The most powerful moment of the ceremony was probably Vanessa Bryant speaking publically for the first time regarding the tragedy as she eulogized her husband and daughter. She humanized her husband and let fans know about him outside of basketball and highlighted his embrace of fatherhood.
Vanessa Bryant showed poise and strength bringing the fans and attendees together celebrating the lives lost while also being vulnerable enough to be the picture of what she is, a wife and mother in mourning.
The celebration brought out WNBA great Diana Taurasi, who idolized Kobe as a child and became the idol of Gianna as a star in her own right. It displayed the full circle that Kobe embraces as an NBA superstar who was hoping to pass on to his daughter what he knew so that she could grow up to star in the WNBA.
Kobe Bryant’s pull was so strong that Michael Jordan, the acknowledged greatest player in NBA history, was too emotional to speak about his “little brother.” Jordan preserved through tears describing his relationship with Kobe, showing a vulnerability not seen from Jordan in such a public forum.
Shaquille O’Neal brought his perfect brand of humor reminding the audience of Kobe’s strong self-belief.
Shaquille: “Kobe there is no I in team”
Kobe: “I know but there’s an M-E in that mother-expletive”
A perfect topper for the end of the festivities a reminder to all of Los Angeles what it has lost and the enduring legacy of Kobe Bryant.