The life of Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna was celebrated one last time on the evening of February 24, at Staples Center in Los Angeles, California.
The majority of the metropolis literally shut down for a day in order for everyone to be able to pay their final respect and say their final goodbyes to Kobe, Gianna, and the rest of the victims of the fatal helicopter crash on January 26.
Various business and restaurants in LA were closed, roads were blocked, and more than 20,000 people attended the ceremony at “the house that Kobe built,” which is how many Laker fans refer to Staples Center.
The night was filled with symbolism, from the 2/24/2020 date, 2 representing Gianna’s jersey number and 24 Kobe’s retired number, to the ticket prices including $24.02, two for $224, or a VIP ticket for $224. All numbers were homages to the father and daughter duo.
Outside of the arena, there was no memorial service and those who were not coming to the indoor event were respectfully asked not to gather outside, as the screens would be shut down and there will be nothing there. Still, on many locations in the city served as watch centers, while live streams were available on ESPN, Tidal, ABC, Roku, Hulu, Facebook, YouTube, and Apple TV.
Numerous former and current NBA players, owners, coaches, and experts attended, as well as other major celebrities. TV host Jimmy Kimmel was the main spokesperson and introduced the guest speakers.
The stars included Kobe’s wife and Gianna’s mother Vanessa Bryant, Kobe’s agent and the current general manager of the LA Lakers Rob Pelinka, Kobe’s mentor, rival, and inspiration Michael Jordan, and Shaquille O’Neal, Kobe’s best ever teammate and a longtime friend and rival.
WNBA player Diana Taurasi and NCAA player Sabrina Ionescu also spoke, as well as UConn Huskies coach Geno Auriemma.
In-between the touching monologues and tributes, Beyoncé, Alicia Keys, and Christina Aguilera performed.
Kobe’s jersey retirement speech as well as his Academy Award winning short film “Dear Basketball” were also shown to the guests.