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Thousands Gather To Pay Tribute To NBA Superstar Kobe Bryant and Gianna Bryant

Thousands Gather To Pay Tribute To NBA Superstar Kobe Bryant and Gianna Bryant

Thousands came out to pay their final respects to basketball phenom, Kobe Bryant.

The 41-year-old was tragically killed alongside his 13-year-old daughter Gianna Bryant and seven others when their helicopter crashed while on the way to a basketball game at Bryant’s Mamba Sports Academy last month.

The entire world mourned the tragedy, sparking a bevy of “Mamba Mentality” think pieces honoring Bryant as well as a touching tribute from “girl dads” across the world. Bryant and his daughter were finally laid to rest on February 24th, a date symbolizing the jersey numbers Kobe and Gianna wore, #24 and #2. 

So many celebrities and fans alike came out for the memorial, which was held at The Staples Center in Los Angeles, including Michael Jordan, Shaquille O’Neal (Shaq), Beyonce and Alicia Keys, NBC News reports. 

Beyonce opened up the ceremony, singing a special rendition of her hit songs “XO,” and “Halo,” which happened to be Kobe’s favorite. “I’m here because I love Kobe, and this was one of his favorite songs,” she told everyone. 

Alicia Keys played a Beethoven solo on the piano through tears in honor of the late, great superstar, taking to Twitter after the service to express her thoughts about the moment, saying, “Vanessa, when you told me the Moonlight Sonata is such a beautiful part of your love story because Kobe vowed to learn it for you, I was speechless...I felt the depth of your love for each other & your girls with every note I played today. The love between you lights up the world.” 

Michael Jordan helped eulogize his friend who he said “was like a little brother,” sobbing through his speech and even making a joke that his crying will be turned into another meme. Shaq also helped memorialize Bryant, sharing emotional moments between the two as well as some laughs.

Bryant’s wife, Vanessa, was a vision of strength, memorializing both her daughter and her husband, sharing candid moments of their two decades of love while also sharing the aspirations she had for her daughter. 

“They were funny, happy, silly, and they loved life. God knew they couldn’t be on this earth without each other. He had to bring them home to heaven together,” she said.

Kobe Bryant is survived by his parents, siblings, wife Vanessa, daughters Natalia, Bianka and Capri, and a host of family and friends.

He will be deeply missed.

Photo Courtesy of Robert Hanashiro/USA Today Sports