Basketball / NBA.- More than 20,000 people, including NBA figures such as Michael Jordan, Pau Gasol, Shaquille O’Neal, Magic Johnson or Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, participated this Monday at the Staples Center in Los Angeles (California) in the memorial to Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna, who died on January 26 with seven other people in a helicopter accident.
In a ceremony of two hours and a half under the title ‘A Celebration of Life’ – ‘A celebration of life’ – and held on a special date – February 24 (2), 24 for the number that Kobe wore during his Last years in Los Angeles Lakers and 2 for the number that the little ‘Gigi’ used to wear, thousands of personalities, athletes, friends and basketball fans gathered to say their last goodbye to the ‘Black Mamba’.
“I’m here because I loved Kobe,” said American singer Beyoncé excitedly, who paid her particular tribute to Bryant singing, along with a chorus, ‘XO’ and ‘Halo’. Alicia Keys, who played the sonata ‘Claro de luna’ by Ludwig van Beethoven, and Christina Aguilera, who sang the ‘Ave Maria’ by Franz Schubert also took the stage.
From the presenter Jimmy Kimmel, in charge of conducting the event, through the players Diana Taurasi and Sabrina Ionescu and coach Geno Auriemma, to the ‘general manager’ of Los Angeles Lakers, Rob Pelinka, dedicated emotional words of remembrance to Bryant, although it was the speech of Michael Jordan, with whom Kobe maintained a healthy rivalry in the tracks, the one that moved among them all.
MICHAEL JORDAN: “WHEN KOBE DIED, A PIECE OF ME DIED”
Through tears, the Chicago Bulls legend recalled his “little brother.” “Now I will have to see another ‘meme’ crying for years,” he joked about his viral image crying, which caused laughter among the audience. “I told my wife that I wasn’t going to do this because I didn’t want to see him for the next three or four years. That’s what Kobe Bryant does to me,” he said.
“When Kobe Bryant died, a piece of me died too. While I look at this clue, a piece of you dies. I promise that from today I will live with the memories knowing that I had a little brother whom I tried to help as much as I could. Rest in peace, little brother, “Jordan finished.
His former partner in the Angelina Shaquille O’Neal franchise also recalled moments with the ill-fated player, with whom he maintained “deep respect and mutual love.” “Kobe and I pressed each other to play the best basketball of all time. And sometimes, as immature children, we argue, fight, joke, attack each other with comments on the field. Make no mistake, even when people thought that we were wrong, when the cameras were turned off, he and I winked at each other, “he said.
VANESSA BRYANT: “FUN IN THE SKY UNTIL WE’RE GIVEN BACK”
The most emotional moment of the ceremony came with the speech of Kobe’s widow, Vanessa Bryant. “She was full of life and had much more to offer this world,” he said of his daughter. “We will not be able to see Gigi go to high school with Natalia and ask her how her day was. We did not have the opportunity to teach her to drive a car. I will not be able to tell her how beautiful her wedding day is,” she said excitedly.
“He was my everything,” he continued about Kobe. “God knew they couldn’t be here without each other and that’s why they had to take them together. Honey, take care of our Gigi, I’ll do it with Nati, BiBi and Coco. We’re still the best team. We love you and you we miss Boo-Boo and Gigi. Rest in peace and have fun in the sky until we meet again one day, “he concluded.
The Bryant family was accompanied by numerous celebrities, including the legends of the Lakers Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Elgin Baylor, Jerry West, James Worthy or Pau Gasol, winner of two rings with Kobe.
Also present were current players such as Russell Westbrook, Stephen Curry, Kyrie Irving or Anthony Davis, former players such as Manu Ginobili, Tony Parker and Tim Duncan or San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich, as well as figures such as director Spike Lee, former Michael Phelps , singer Jennifer Lopez and rapper Kanye West.
The ceremony closed with the short film ‘Dear Basketball’ – ‘Dear Basketball’ -, with which Bryant won the Oscar for best short in the 2018 ceremony. The money raised with tickets for the event will be for Mamba & Mambacita Sports Foundation, foundation created to promote solidarity through sport.
Last Sunday, January 26, the helicopter in which Bryant, 41, was traveling, his daughter Gianna and seven others crashed in a mountainous area of the Californian town of Calabasas; There were no survivors.
In his 20 years as a Lakers player, Bryant was ‘MVP’ of the season in 2008, twice ‘MVP’ of the NBA Finals, five times champion and 18 times ‘All-Star’, a race in which He also won two Olympic golds. He retired in 2016, scoring 60 points in his final game and finished his career with 33,643 points, now fourth on the all-time list after LeBron James beat him only one day before his death.