Beyoncé, Jimmy Kimmel, and more pay emotional tribute to Kobe and Gianna Bryant at memorial
Almost one month after their tragic deaths, Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna were honored with the star-studded “A Celebration of Life” memorial at Los Angeles’ Staples Center.
Fittingly, the special event is taking place on Monday, with the significance of the Feb. 24 date stemming from the father-daughter’s basketball numbers (Gianna wore #2, while Kobe wore #24 for the last 10 years of his career). The tribute can be seen in full above.
The day started with Beyoncé performing “XO” and saying, “I’m here because I love Kobe and this was one of his favorite songs.” She then proceeded to sing “Halo.” After finishing, Beyoncé would take her seat behind Vanessa Bryant, who she’d be seen consoling throughout.
Jimmy Kimmel, who would serve as the default host, then followed with a tearful tribute to both Kobe and Gianna, which can be seen below.
There would then be a standing ovation as Vanessa Bryant made her way to the stage, where she’d give a stirring speech about both her late daughter and husband. “God knew they couldn’t be on this Earth without each other,” she concluded. “He had to bring them home to heaven together.”
Titans of the basketball industry would also speak about the Bryants and their fiery competitive nature, including Diana Taurasi, Geno Auriemma, Shaquille O’Neal, and Michael Jordan. Christina Aguilera and Alicia Keys joined Beyoncé as the performers.
Bryant, who was recently selected to the Basketball Hall of Fame, died Jan. 26 in a helicopter crash, along with 13-year-old Gianna and seven other victims. The day of the accident, fans immediately rushed to honor the NBA legend at Staples Center, where Bryant had brought home five championships as a Los Angeles Laker. With the Grammys already scheduled to take place that night at Staples, host Alicia Keys referred to the venue as “the house that Kobe built.”
In the subsequent weeks, the salutes have continued to pour in, whether it was through social media, murals all around Los Angeles, or at the Feb. 16 NBA All-Star Game, which featured emotional tributes from Jennifer Hudson and Common.
Watch “A Celebration of Life: Kobe and Gianna Bryant” above.