Vanessa Bryant Leads Emotional Public Memorial for Husband Kobe, Daughter Gianna

February 25, 2020
Vanessa Bryant

© Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

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An emotional Vanessa Bryant eulogized her husband Kobe and daughter Gianna at a packed memorial service in Los Angeles on Monday, ESPN reports. Bryant praised her husband's devotion, calling him "the MVP of girl dads," and said, "God knew [Kobe and Gianna] couldn't be on this earth without each other. He had to bring them home to have them together. Babe, you take care of our Gigi." She also said she and Kobe had planned to renew their vows and joked about becoming "cool grandparents." She continued, "He was the most amazing husband. Kobe loved me more than I could ever express or put into words. I was fire. He was ice. Vice versa at times...He was my everything." Bryant also spoke of Gianna, saying she loved swimming, singing, baking and watching Survivor with her dad. She also predicted that Gianna could have become "the best player in the WNBA." The memorial began with a performance by Beyoncé and an intro by Jimmy Kimmel. The crowd was full of current and past NBA luminaries, including Shaquille O'Neal, Jerry West, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Magic Johnson, Pau Gasol, NBA commissioner Adam Silver, Michael Jordan, Phil Jackson, Stephen Curry, James Harden, Kyrie Irving, and Russell Westbrook. Jordan gave a lengthy, tearful speech that ended with him saying, "When Kobe died, a piece of me died." Meanwhile, O'Neal compared their Lakers partnership to that of the Beatles' John Lennon and Paul McCartney. Kimmel ended the ceremony with a simple message for the crowd: "Don't forget: Work hard, and hug the people you love."