Kobe and Gianna Bryant Remembered at Los Angeles Memorial Service l ABC News Live
Staples Center in Los
AngelesTom Yama's welcome to ABC
livespecial coverage of the
memorialcelebrating a legend more than 250,000 fans have passed through the Staples Center where we are right now to honor the NBA great today 20,000 ticket holders a sold-out event will gather in the house that
Kobebuilt and I invite you to look at your calendar right now February 24 20 22 24 2020 the symbolic date for
Kobe's wife Vanessa Bryan to representative of her daughter
Giannawho also died and wore that number when she played basketball and 24 one of
Kobe's numbers on the Lakers then 20 20 20 years on the Lakers 20 years married to Vanessa the atmosphere is somber out here and to be honest it is a little sad but it's also electrifying to see what
Kobemeant to this community the details of this ceremony are still a secret we have no idea what to expect today but like
Bryant's play we are expecting something special you're looking
liveat an overhead shot right now the Staples Center the place
Bryanthelped make legendary thousands are arriving today to say goodbye and to pay tribute to
Kobethe NBA all-star and five-time world champion who along with his 13 year old daughter
Giannaand seven others were killed in a helicopter crash just last month today Los
Angelesis mourning and celebrating the
lives of all of those lost as the investigation into this crash continues since his death tributes have popped up all over the world...
showing the impact he had not only on this game but as a father after leaving professional basketball the superstar did not slow down coaching his daughters team rotting children's books and making a documentary about the game he loved that won him an Oscar joining me now with more on
Kobe's legacy my ESPN colleague and host of the jump Rachel Nichols and Rachel I know this is got to be a tough day for you because as your career got started so did
Bryant's and you spent a lot of that career covering him yeah absolutely you know came onto the scene as a high schooler he wasn't loved by a lot of the people ahead of him in the NBA it was an interesting dynamic we think of
Kobenow as the Statesman this presents part of the NBA fabric but at that point a lot of people in the league thought of him as this punk kid who thought he could do everything and there was some pushback here on the Lakers hazing his rookie year people who thought you know they used to have beer in the locker room here after games but he was 18 years old so they couldn't have beer in the room when
Bryantwas there so they thought
Bryant's responsible for taking our beer away I mean it was sometimes as specific as that so he didn't have the easiest entry and that was during my time early as a reporter I was young female covering sports at a time where it wasn't as accepted as fortunately it is today and I remember times where people wouldn't talk to me things...
that real hard time with stories and I came here to do a story on
Bryantand frankly I expected him to kind of be the same to brush me off to not really give me any time and he sat down with me for 45 minutes and we sat on a bench and I will remember it like it was yesterday we just talked and he was very open about the experiences he was having here at the tough time during his first year in the league and at the end of it I was telling him a little bit about me and what was hard for me and he looked at me and he just said he's like you know what we're gonna be okay and he said they don't know what's coming and I've repeated that story so many times over the years because it speaks to this amazing competency that he knew what he could do and it was going to come through and boy in his case wasn't it true we didn't know what was coming right he evolved as a player and as a man he was able to have a career outside of basketball some have said this was the day that he passed away was the saddest day in the history of the NBA how is it impacted the game this season you think going forward look it is part of everything you know every game for a week or two after
Kobe's passing wasn't even really about basketball it was about
Kobeand there's so many games now that are still like that the Lakers are in such a weird position for the rest of this season because they go into other cities as visitors on the road and teams want to use that...
as it's time to have their
Kobetribute so the Lakers have been part of multiple multiple
Kobetributes around the league for weeks and weeks sort of emotionally being drawn back into this we had the all-star game that was completely dedicated to
Kobein fact the two teams instead of the players wearing their own numbers they wore number 24 for
Kobeand number two for his daughter
Giannawe expect this NBA Finals to be a lot about
Kobewas scheduled to be up for induction into the Hall of Fame this fall which is sort of just staggering when you think of how close he missed it that we're never gonna hear that speech so they have nominated impostor posthumously he is expected to be enshrined there but that will also be about
Kobethis fall so it is just such a presence looming over the entire league the sport and of course the city finally racially you know we don't know what to expect today we do think it's gonna be something special
Kobedeserves that and there's so many people who loved him inside this league in the city all over the world what are you gonna be thinking about as you watch the ceremony today I just think that power he had to affect so many different kinds of people
lives we expect some pretty heavy hitter speakers today pretty heavy hitter performers and it just speaks to how many different people from different walks of life felt that
Kobewas theirs I mean you really can't think of Los
Angelesfor the last two decades...
without thinking about
Bryantis there a person that you would think of specifically acting Hollywood that's a sign right it's
Kobethat wore that name across his chest so you can't talk about LA without talking about
Kobeand you can't talk about the fabric of really this country without talking about
Kobefor the last two decades he was just kind of always there for so many different people and I think that's what we're going to see today all right Rachel Nichols we thank you so much for that and we'll be thinking about you today as we watch the coverage as well post NBA
Bryantenjoyed being a coach and coaching his daughter's basketball team he really felt sports was an analogy for life here he is in his own words talking about his coaching and parenting philosophy the way I share my knowledge of the game with my team in particular is just through experience I don't spend a lot of time talking to them about stories or the value of hard work we just simply
liveit we embody it and then it becomes something that just they just grow up a custom to know their respect for the game their respect for each other these are things that we just do and through doing that becomes something that eventually becomes a part of who they are as athletes and young people and for us as coaches and as parents this our job to try to spark that imagination within our children instead of you know putting her under a structure and saying okay you...
got to make this amount of shots with that amount of shots just go out and have fun with it all right just be imaginative I'll say give her the ball and say listen you got 10 seconds left I'll count down from 10 you know hit a game-winning shot things like that I think it's it's extremely important yeah what we're here to do is to help children be better to teach them how to think the game to teach them out of process together to help them get better as athletes so they can feel more confident about themselves as people that's what we're there for and it's important to find a coach that understands that that understands the connectivity between life and sport Sport is the greatest metaphor that we have for life and it's important that we treat it as such so
Bryantthey're showing that there was life after basketball it's something he worked hard at he did have a second act he was possibly working on a third act as well joining me now is co-host of ESPN's first takes Steven Naismith Steven thanks so much for joining us you new cool B
Kobeyou covered him he was a friend what's gonna be going through your mind today as you watch the ceremony just incredible sadness again you know knowing him and knowing how much he was looking forward to the future knowing all that he had already accomplished championships the all-star appearances the League MVPs two Olympic gold medals all of that stuff it was all behind him he had done...
it he had conquered every demon that you know real and imagined and his mentality was I'm 41 years of age I've got a wonderful wife I've got wonderful children family and I've got my whole life to look forward to and the only expectations that I have to concern myself with are those that I put on my shoulders because I've already conquered what everybody else has placed on me so that was his mentality the last time I saw him which was New Year's Eve that's what we talked about and I knew what he was looking forward to and just enough to be here now a month later the Noda he's gone it's it's pretty devastating you know explain something to our viewers a lot of people who are watching us all over the world today our sports fans every
Kobefans but there are also people who may not understand why so many people have come out here 250,000 since he died 20,000 a sold-out stadium here I've covered a lot of events I covered Michael Jackson's death and and other famous people's death I don't know if I seen anything like this and a mourning period for as long what did he mean it was more than basketball was more on basketball than obviously to the basketball community it was about that just as much as it was about anything else because no matter what grant level of greatness you have inside of you and what you exude off the court the first order of business to athletes and the people within the profession is to handle your...
business on the court he clearly did that with it with the success that he had but then he also stepped back and reached back to help gods in terms of their off the court endeavors some of the aspirations that they may have had what it would take to order in order for them to achieve their goals I remember when he went to the Beijing Olympics the 2008 you see a lot of these guys speaking about branding and about elevating themselves above the court and really solidifying a future for themselves that extended beyond the court of play he constantly talked to them about that it was always willing to give God as a support plus he would train with some of them in the offseason or train them and talk them about talk to them about the ins and outs of what it takes to be successful and a lot of guys realized he was a willing teacher a willing mentor he was somebody that felt it was his mission to give back in to assist their making the world a better place and then when you see particularly in this day and age he was a girl day he loved women's sports particularly the WNBA his daughter talked about being a star and becoming an all-american at UConn before she was ultimately hell-bent on going to the WNBA and the way he embraced that and was willing to tutor her there's so many young other young ladies to sort of ascend to a land that people thought was designated for just the guys he was like no not at all this is my legacy and I loved every moment of it and so when you hear...
those kind of stories and you see evidence that he was actually living it not just talking about it it just makes it that much more painful that at age 41 his brilliant as he was speaking six different languages being as intelligent and accomplished as he was for him to have his whole life ahead of him if it to be gone at age 41 it's just tragic Steven finally on the on that point you talked about sort of how he's a Renaissance man he was also incredibly disciplined he would go out with players but then he'd wake them up at 5:00 a.m. he would say to make sure they were there practicing with him do you remember any stories of just his discipline how he he just constantly
lived a life that was always hard where there's no particular story it was his life he was a guy that you know you have a lot of people with vast majority in the NBA their season ends in mid-april because of the success that he enjoyed that customarily ended in late May and moyen and a lot of times jus because he went to seven NBA Finals he won five that was his life and so you've got guys that literally would have their season end in April and they'd start training in the offseason in the summertime and whatever and naked and their workouts
Bryantwould take a week two weeks off max even when he won the championship and would be out there training and preparing himself for the next season the next conquest because he knew he was the marquee we're gonna come after him and he...
knew that he needed to be ready to
liveup to that but it was also applicable to everything he did he's called me on several occasions what the hell are you still doing asleep why are you not up you know if I was sick you know he called or text me why the hell ain't you on TV you got a job to do if that was me you wouldn't accept that get your behind up get ready to work Eve wanted you at the top of your game even today as we sit up here and we talk you know the Staples Center as the backdrop getting ready to celebrate the life of
BryantI remember I was just telling my sister just the other day
Kobewould be like whatever you think you go you ain't going inside there give me to be on TV that's what people expect you got a job to do do your job he was very very very big on that that's what I remember all right Steven thank you so much for time I appreciate we'll be thinking about you throughout the ceremony Steven Naismith and earlier today I spoke with the ESPN senior rider Ramona Shelburne about the legacy that
Kobeleaves in the NBA Ramona you can cover
Bryantwe spoke the night that this happened what does today mean for you well look it's been a month since he passed away and it's it's just as shocking today as it was a month ago right like I still remember where I was how I heard who I called I remember calling you on the phone does that feel like yesterday it does I mean I was driving from the crash site to the momba...
Academy out there in Thousand Oaks and you know I kind of like I know how to get there but I had to like put it in ways because I my brain was so like overloaded by the shock of this and so I think today is really a day that this starts to feel real it starts to feel like there's some acceptance that can happen we've all done a lot of processing and you know I know you know I was here the whole first week and it was like my family's Jewish right and when somebody in our religion dies like you sit Shiva for them you-you-you spend a week and you just get around with your family and friends and you share stories and you talk about them that's what Los
Angeleshas been doing for a month and that's what the world has been doing for a month but that whole first week here man it was it was like a bubble that that we couldn't really get out of this whole Plaza was 250,000 people came through this Plaza they packed up all the stuff to give it to the
Bryantfamily it took 37 boxes of shipping containers to fill it all up I mean the the magnitude of the grief that this felt in this city is enormous and I think today will be helpful to people in this in the way of contextualizing it give you some people some peace and some acceptance you know Ramona tens of thousands of people came out here to the Staples Center after this happened 20,000 coming today they've blocked off all the streets around the Staples Center but we've been driving around we've been...
seeing people in the Lakers gear decorating their cars with
Kobememorabilia it's I don't want to say it's strange because you know we know how big sports are but it sort of transcends sports no way does it have man I mean I was so I just got Lee's I admit he runs he runs AEG he runs Staples Center and before they set this up they they kind of studied other similar events because there's really no other similar event he goes the the the closest thing that they could find was when Princess died died and you know there was like three hundred thousand people around the streets of London when she was laid to rest I think that no venue they found would have been big enough I think there's so many people in Los
Angelesaround the world that want to be here that you could have filled the Coliseum you could have filled the Rose Bowl you could have filled all the streets you could have filled Staples Center at the Forum any venue you name in Lausanne you could have filled it and you know they had to make a decision about where it should be and Staples Center the this is the house of
KobeBill right this is last time I was here with him his jerseys were getting retired and you know the time before that it was when he scored 60 points in his last game it's perfect I wish everybody could be here because I think you know that's what people want to do but I'm glad that it's that it's going to be you know broadcast everywhere I don't think...
many people are gonna be at work today especially not here finally Ramona can you remember your last conversation with him and what you guys talked about yeah I actually saw him out of the mob Academy and he was doing an event with young girls and you know just just the way he talked to him then we just we just caught up right like I just had my son he was a few months old I know maybe six seven months old at that point I was showing a baby pictures he was show me pictures of his girls right and he was so proud of his girls not just not just Gigi okay Natalia Bianca could free like they like you just we were just two parents showing each other's pictures and that's what I think is the hardest part right now is like for me like I'm 40 he was 41 like we kind of grew up together you know I I remember when he took Brandi to the prom grade like I was in high school when that happened and so it's like you see somebody who has the same kind of trajectory in your life and and and I waited later and life to have children of my own and it was like I enjoy my age like I you can't imagine life before it and I feel like
Kobekind of waited later in his life to enjoy that family that he had built great like the he had created he was so happy when I last saw him and so I think that's what I'm gonna hold on to it's just just knowing like he had a lot more to do he had a lot more to say but he was happy my conversation earlier today with Ramona Shelburne from...
ESPN joining me now with more on what we can expect in today's
serviceas my colleague TJ Holmes TJ I say that but we really don't know what to expect today they have kept this thing very close to the chest and why not right don't don't get so much out there they were able to control the narrative and actually everybody's going to be surprised to a certain degree to see what we see in here but of course all eyes are on Vanessa
Bryantis she going to show up if she does is she going to speak will the kids be there will they take the stage people are just looking to embrace them in a major way she has not made a public appearance since the accident since that crash a month ago put out some statements on Instagram but everybody is just really wanting to embrace her but wanting to see if she if she shows up today all eyes will be on there what we do know though is there's some symbolism symbolism between on the ticket prices and also the date of today it was gonna go how they did this right February 24th 2020 that's to 24 20 22 was the number
Giannawore 24 of course the number that
Kobespent the last ten years of his career in and then 20 he spent 20 years with the Lakers so symbolism there all the tickets were 24:02 and/or 224 dollars so yeah symbolism and numbers everything today and I know you saw and you've been standing out here but all of downtown Los
Angeleshas been kind of a
memorialsince the accident I was I was here that whole week...
and purple lights buildings lit up in his name but today everyone is surrounded this place it looks like everybody's giving downtown and Staples have some kind of collective hug almost just in all the jerseys they look like they're here for a game almost right people wearing their uniforms wearing their
Bryantjerseys but it's supposed to be a celebration today and we actually are just getting our first images inside the Staples Center right now we have a monitor over here tej I want you to take a look at and you and it is kind of what you said it is a collective hug around the city of Los
Angelestoday when I came out here it was somber it's sad but it is electrifying to see the people where the
Kobeyear to be excited to show their support and we saw that every time we came out here I mean the
memorials were huge Ramona was just telling me was 37 truckloads of memorabilia they filled that surrounded the Staples Center in honor of
Bryantand and I've sort of been saying this all morning but he did transcend sports he's somebody who he played here but people came to watch him because they could forget about their
lives for a little bit they can forget about whatever stress and
Kobea champion was gonna win for them he put on a show every single night he understood that we have to remember now these huge personalities and his huge talent Michael Jordan LeBron James right they they hold these places but right in between those two that era was...
Bryantit's not just because of his talent but his charisma that smile how he could market and show up around the world really and that's what people would drop the talent there's one thing he speaks for ourselves but Cooke sports up but to your point yes he was so much bigger than this game and was getting bigger in some ways the scenes after his playing career we always speak all about the Oscar but he was a best-selling author he had the Mamba Foundation what he was doing with women's sports he just seemed like he was almost just getting started even though we've been watching over 20 years in this career and we were just talking during the last piece that you said that you had a chance to interview him back in 2016 you remember that last conversation you had with them I do we were he was being honored at the ESPYs and I was talking to him afterwards and I wrapped up with this I said yeah your wife now she's pregnant with you guys third yeah third girl I said man what's going on with you somebody punishing you you got three girls right and he said man daddy's girls he just lit up and said it several times daddy's girls daddy's girls and then he'd said well they're all gonna play soccer was it what he said but he was just so excited and he lit up in a way that you can't fake you saw it as soon as you started talking about those girls daddy's girls and now of course one of his girls being celebrated here...
with him today I was waiting to see if his fist family is going to show up his wife and those three no that is a big part of that actually leads us to our next segment now with Kenna Whitworth TJ think so please yeah the death of
Bryantand his daughter along with seven others was shocking mostly for his wife Vanessa Bryan Quinta Whitworth joins me now with how she's been dealing with this tragedy in Cana we were talking about this before we started this broadcast today because it is a major part of what happened here you can't stop and not think about Vanessa
Bryantshe's now raising those other daughters by herself she lost one of her daughters and her husband and and those Instagram posts have been so emotional to read yeah tell me of course we are both parents and that was something that struck us as well is how is Vanessa doing today is about honoring
Kobeand gg of course but our hearts go out to Vanessa and her three daughters and when she first posted on Instagram she said that she was really hesitant to do so she was hesitant to put her feelings out there but that she decided to write about it in case somebody else might be going through something similar she wanted to see if she could help anybody out there when she started to express her feelings and she said in her Instagram post that it's like she just can't to terms with her body will not allow her to realize that they are gone and that she's trying to process the death and the loss...
Kobeshe said my body just will not let me understand that my gg will never come back to me it's not fair she also said I'm so and how can you not relate to that and then she went on to say that she had to be there of course for her three daughters to raise her three daughters and on Valentine's Day she posted a picture of her in
Kobeshe called him her forever Valentine she also said that apparently Valentine's Day was his favorite holiday something that you might not think there might not of course know about
Bryantand most recently she posted a picture of a tattoo it's a tattoo on World Cup champ Sydney Leroux and it's the number two now that of course is GG's number but that is also the number that Sydney wears as well and the theme of tattoos is running strong I read a report that there's even a tattoo artist here in Los
Angeleswho has booked through the end of the year that is something that people are doing to honor
Kobepeople are mourning in all different ways and we can only imagine how vanessa feel our hearts go out to her as she tries to move on with her life raised her girls of course Tom they have a seven-month-old they have a baby girl who will not really know her father the way that many of us do and it's certainly hard to think about because at the end of the day there is a mom who lost her baby and lost her husband and she has to figure out no you're so right Cana and we don't even know if Vanessa Bryan...
will be here and you and I were speaking about this and and that's okay if she if she's not here because this is maybe the lowest point without a doubt in her life and yet she still has to show strength she still has to be that mom to that baby to her two other daughters and sort of the symbol now really the head of the household now for the
Bryantfamily and and fans and people who love
Bryantwe'll be looking at her and sort of reading how she deals with this morning and in a lot of ways people are gonna be looking up to her too yeah absolutely I think people will look to have an essay on how to move forward where do you go from here I mean people in Los
Angelesdon't know Los
Bryantand she has been a part of his story from the beginning I mean they started dating when she was in high school in Orange County and she was with him his entire NBA rise she stood by him when times were tough in their marriage and they of course had the four beautiful daughters and they made
Bryantas he likes to say a girl dad and I think that she will set the precedence here how we're all supposed to feel when we think about what to do and where to move forward and she were learning Tom as this is coming on the heels here that the FAA is saying five years ago that pilot who was piloting that doomed helicopter I was involved in an airspace violation during a cloudy day at LAX and we're learning now today that on February 24th Vanessa Bryan...
has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Island Express against that helicopter company TMZ says she is claiming that the pilot was reckless yeah Cana Whitworth that that
newsjust breaking right now unfortunately on the same day that people are coming here to honor
Bryantand her daughter
Giannayou did mention that the word girls dad and that sort of was a
newsstory something that came out of this horrible tragedy shortly after
Gianna's death the hashtag girl dad went viral ESPN's Elli Duncan shows us how
Bryantwas not only an inspiration to many as a player but also as a father of girls a girl dead is obviously a dead that has a daughter but I think it's deeper than that thing your love for her it's just so strong and you just get all mushy inside when you see to be the father of girls it means everything I love my love my girls so much and each one you can already see their different personalities and it definitely makes me feel special couldn't be happier to be a girl yet in the wake of his death the words
Bryantshared with me almost two years ago have now created a movement without hesitation he said I would have five more girls if I could I'm a girl dad being able to just be with his daughters be with his family's like the happiest I've ever seen him at all y'all see a girl dad nice new hashtag you quite understand that with two simple words the world found a way to pay tribute to the legend through...
their daughters fact that something like that is has gotten trendy I think the fact that the whole world kind of stopped when the tragedy happened it just shows how much of an impact he had not only you know athletes but on everyone across the world and that's very powerful thousands upon thousands of fathers honoring their daughters and daughters celebrating their dads a simple phrase for a sacred bond Koby impacted me as a girl that by just showing that girls can do the same thing guys can do they can have the same mindset it seemed like he loved everything was so much passion and I'm sure that came from having all girls and so I'm trying to grow under that that type of love for my family as well Coby set the example of how to be a dad of girls and to inspire confidence in them and showing them that they can do anything the moments that I get to spend with Bernie before the games our moments I'll remember forever she likes to just talk about when are we going to the game so I can go out there and drove it with you on the court dad she loves and she lights up and certainly likes me you see there's a perception that having boys makes men feel more complete but there was
Kobeand all his joy reminding the world of the blessing that comes with being a dad to girls my wife is actually pregnant and so we're expecting her fourth and I've been getting a lot of people saying what if it's another girl as much as I would love a boy as much as my wife...
love a boy there's there's definitely part of me that pokes it's another girl from pros - average joe's - the daughters of giants a community was forged I think the overall impact has been dad's in general have become better we're proud to have our girls and we're not just so oh I want to go out when I'm boy up and bracing the pillows that amazing you know
Kobealso just thinking for being a girl that just thank you for loving GG you know the daughters the way you did it's been a great example for me my daughter Sienna so thank you brother the story behind the hashtag girls dad all right coming up next a man who faced off against
Kobeon the court many times Bruce Bowen joins us law to discuss his memories of the NBA icon stay with us you are watching ABC
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livecoverage of the
Bryantwe are just moments away from the ceremony starting just behind me you can see the crowds of fans that are trying to get into the Staples Center right now the ceremony is set to start in just a few minutes it could you know maybe perhaps start a little later than that but a lot of ticket holders are rushing to the gates right now to get in nearly everyone wearing
Bryantgear during us now is ESPN analyst and former NBA player for the San Antonio Spurs who faced off on the court many times against
KobeBruce Bowen Bruce thanks so much for joining us on this day I know your your heart and your mind is with
Kobeand his family today but I do have to ask you since...
since you had the opportunity unlike maybe anybody else who's watching right now what was it like to play with
Bryantto try to cover him as a defensive player well it was a joy because he was definitely one of the best and whenever you get a chance to go up against the best I think that should you know kind of elevate your juices as well to do the best job you can against him now you know we know all the things that
Kobeis accomplished in and when we started battling there was there was a bit of envy from my behalf as far as he has something that I wanted and I didn't care for him in the beginning because I thought oh look at his swagger he's so arrogant but he was a champion and so with that being said it was one play that really earned my respect with
Kobeout there on the floor and it taught me the situation of you got to have a healthy respect for others you can't discredit them for their accomplishments but more importantly work just as hard as they may work and you made to be a champion Bruce what was it like I mean day in and day out because you know we've talked a lot today about
Kobe's discipline would he come back better and stronger every year well you understood that he was such a person that would get after his craft you understood that he was going to come back each and every year was something different one year our memory came back a little more muscular and the first thing he did on the post up he says hey yeah I've been...
working out Bruce you can tell huh I put some extra weight so that when you keep hacking me I'll be able to finish my shots Bruce and you know watching all of this and and and I've heard you talk about the moment you learned of the
newswhen you had learned that
Kobehad passed away what's it been like for players who played with
Kobeand and just in the general you're still very much part of the NBA what's it like been for the league well I think is it if there's anything we can learn from this is that life is so valuable and we have to really cherish the moments we have with it you know learning this
newswhat it did was I think it showed a human aspect for a lot of players even in a competitive environment where you know you going up against someone and there's a disdain you have but now because of the human aspect of you see
Kobestill impacting the game in a different way you know your heart goes out to he and his family and so when I heard the
newsit was devastating because this is someone that from the the early times of of us battling against one another I come to have and develop a relationship with him we would sit and talk and in those talks he talked about growing the game this is one of the greatest players to ever pick up the basketball and he's talking about how we need to help this game how we need to continue the process of teaching the game and so when you see that type of fervor and desire and someone pouring their heart and...
effort into something as simple as a love that they have it only makes you that much more appreciative of the time that you got to spend with him as well as the others Bruce you talked about things we can learn from this experience and what do you think younger players maybe have have learned about
Kobebecause we have learned so much more about his story about his life his passions and what he wanted to do after basketball I think if there's anything that a lot of the younger players can learn is his desire and his work ethic it was not about anything being given to cope we talked about an 18 year old as playing at the NBA level and and contributing you know in his second year and continued the process of listening to coaches and taking all that knowledge and applying it to others as he got older you saw the way he's willing to work with the guys now there's a time where
Kobewas such the competitor he didn't want to work out with the player he wanted to make sure that he was doing his due diligence so that he could keep that edge I think his work ethic is something that we all can learn from as far as his hours in the gym spending time on your craft you don't just wake up and turn it on like that a lot of players today are learning that in all these different tributes to
Kobeand I think that's the positive if there's anything they can learn from him is the fact that if you work hard enough and you have a passion for something great things will...
happen by no means I don't think
Kobeever thought of his legacy quite like this but it was only because of the person he was and the desire to get better at the game that he loved is why everyone has such emotions for he and his family right now you know
Kobewhen he left the game also spoke to about being a villain and being a hero what was it about him that that maybe players and opposing fans hated or disliked or or how did he get under their skin well I think there's a comfort with self that
Kobehad any champion any Indian any individual that you know there's a comfort they have with himself and if you have that comfort and if you're comfortable within your skin there is no greater joy than walking into a building and they're screaming different things at you and you're able to silence that crowd he enjoyed those moments he worked hard for those moments those moments weren't by happenstance those moments only took place because of the love that he had for the game of basketball and the fact that he wanted to continue the process of feeding that to GG and others as well all right Bruce Bowen for us Bruce thank you so much for that we have just received an update on when the ceremony will start we think we're about maybe 20 to 25 minutes from the ceremony starting here at the Staples Center earlier today I spoke with Dave McMenamin who covers the Lakers for ESPN about how the team is dealing with the loss of the Lakers leijen and David...
actually grew up in the same city as
Kobewe were both from the suburb of Philadelphia about 20 miles southwest of Philly and he was a guy originally when he was coming up it was the son of Joe Brian the Sixers player and it was he as good as the guys playing in the Catholic League in Philly he was only playing in the suburbs gets guys like me and then he came in the NBA and started to prove himself and played the Sixers as the one finals and said he wants to rip the hearts out of all the Philadelphia fans and it kind of like soured his legacy there a little bit but as time went on I think the Philadelphia work ethic was appreciated by the fans there and by the end of his career it was a sellout at the Wachovia Center and the fans totally embraced the mob mentality you know there was a time he said when he was younger and I don't know if you remember this but but he spoken about this were when he was 10 years old he was a horrible basketball player and by the time he was 14 he was one of the best players in the state were people talking about him back then oh absolutely he came back to the states after spending about years 7 through 13 in Italy and I played in a summer league and scored zero points entire severly good he felt like he had to build from the ground up not only in terms of re-establish yourself as a basketball player but picking up things like slang and being able to relate to these kids because he'd spent all this time in Europe he played against my...
middle school and my eighth grade coach still has the score book of
Kobe's middle school beating his team and
Kobescored 13 of the team's 26 points the points right there as incredible you wrote a really touching story about when the Lakers found out the
newswhat was that like to sort of report on that story to ask those questions and to find out what that moment was like I mean it's been about a month now and obviously there's been raw emotions and you want to give people time and but some of the guys were starting to open up and Danny Green one of the Lakers guards hosts a podcast and he had Phil handy one of the coaches on and could cook at a backup guard and they over an all-star break kind of went and shared their memories of the plane ride not a sit-down interview that he Davis he started to open up about it and like there's enough information out there you start to piece it together and so this week I spoke to Frank Vogel Lakers coach spoke to LeBron James and LeBron told me about this moment after they had gotten the
newsand they all like fallen asleep right there cross country flight frank vogel comes into the plane cabin tells them all what's happening LeBron gathered them all for a team prayer and I asked him what was going through your mind he was just on my mind it was in my heart and I felt like in that moment we needed to be together and I said hey you know no one knows what God's plan is but we are all here together for a reason...
and we need to stick together through the strategy right what do you think this is done for the Lakers team I mean you cover basketball this is sort of one of those things that is this bigger than basketball if you will how does it affect of the Lakers do you think the league in general the league in general
Kobeis one of the monoliths that existed in the NBA and forevermore he will be a bastion of work ethic a passion of following your dreams and achieving them and someone to have a pride in the sport of basketball he promoted it on the youth level on the women's level international level and so that will always exist in terms this Lakers team specifically they already had a ton of motivation LeBron James is a motivated guy playing in year 17 trying to win a championship with the third different franchise after Miami and Cleveland but I think you know maybe there's a little bit of something in the air where they're saying you know there's there's more than just basketball this year we got to do it for ourselves but also for the community of Lausanne maybe maybe some some pressure we saw that yesterday Celtics game they pulled it off was an incredible game ESPN reported Dave McMenamin for us he covers the Lakers we thank him for his time we are just minutes away from the beginning of a celebration of life for
GiannaBryan stay with us you are watching ABC
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newspodcast worth listening to start here free on Apple podcasts and check out this car right here we actually saw it pulling up as we drove into the Staples Center here in downtown Los
Angelesit is completely covered in
Kobememorabilia right there the purple and gold pretty sweet ride we are here at the Staples Center today when we are just minutes away this is a
livelook aerial view of the Staples Center from the start of a celebration of life for
Kobewas a huge advocate as we know for child athletes coaching and mentoring not only his own kids but many others ESPN Shelley Smith has more the impact of
Bryantis felt by so many all over the country when did you first learn about
Bryant10 talents born 10 year old Surya Rodriguez goes to school in San Pedro a small community in southern Los
AngelesCounty but it's after school she looks forward to the most I have been playing basketball since I was 5 years old I love basketball because it's a fun sport and like anyone can play it boys and girls in retirement
Bryantwanted to have a global footprint on his business and aim to be a champion of youth sports in 2017 he partnered with Nike and the Los
Girls Clubs to create the Mamba League a youth basketball instructional league for children ages eight to ten that has since expanded to New York City the program's pitch was simple come on out
Kobe's doing this amazing thing and you can come play for the Mamba League and it's gonna be so much more available for her when you enter the maan believe it was free it's free for anybody who wants to join as long as they're with the Boys and Girls Club and he got this awesome gear I got a backpack I got sure a sharpie 16 year old Kumi tomorrow a high school junior had a tenant
Kobe's youth camp in Santa Barbara and played tournaments at the Mamba Academy in Thousand Oaks the two developed a friendship he had patients to make sure that everyone knew what like the science behind the game why things were happening and why things weren't or when to do stuff and when's the appropriate time not to do anything
Kobewas invested in obviously in his kids teaching excellence to them but he also was a coach tom ferry is the executive director of the Aspen Institute sports and society program last year
Kobecollaborated with the Aspen Institute's project play and ESPN on an initiative called don't retire kid an effort to increase youth sports participation in August he launched the campaign to his 15 million Twitter followers I'm here to announce my retirement from sports the pressure that it takes to play in my age it's just too much tell me...
about your involvement with project play well something I really became passionate about because of their mission of how do you make the game more engaging how do you enable kids to play the project play is a very ambitious idea
Kobewas valuable because after he retires he's really thinking about his legacy how do I take what I've learned about excellence and teach it to the next generation how do we create a culture change systems change and use sports in this country so more kids have a better experience playing the game
Bryantwas the keynote speaker at the 2018 project play summit and spoke out frequently about the problems in youth sports I think for us in how we guide our children days as young athletes some of it has to do with just protecting that childlike innocence that they have
Kobeknows from being a high-performance athlete that you Sparkle of of game in the kit and you you listen to them you understand their social and their emotional
lives and what they need to get out of the experience he is always telling me that people come and go into your life for a reason and these things happen for a reason and at the end Lillian it's my story to tell and he's helped me get to this point and it meet so many different people and dad might not have even more stories at health I think the most important thing for parents is establishing element of fun and imagination it's important for kids at freedom and have flexibility to create and to imagine and...
for the game to be fun while teaching fundamentals of the sport able to give voice to the voiceless kids and it's such a rare thing and such a precious thing and that's what I think we're gonna miss his
Kobe's ability to help children be respected hopefully deriving all the benefits that come from playing sports ESPN Shelley Smith for us and we should note that Vanessa Bryan is donating all proceeds of the ticket sales from today's celebration to the Mamba and mamasita Sports Foundation I want to bring it again Cana Whitworth one of our ABC correspondents in Cana I want to take you back a few years ago when you were here outside the Staples Center for
Kobe's last game yeah Tom it's almost eerie to look back on it now it was an incredible assignment to get at the time and when you come to the game it was an otherwise meaningless game right there was no playoff implications here but it might as well have been the NBA Finals the atmosphere was unbelievable right inside the Staples Center celebrities had gathered and when I asked them you know why is it so important to be here they said I am here to witness history and that's really what it was and as for
Kobeit actually kind of started out a little slow in the game but as everyone knows he ended up scoring 60 points and at the end of the game he got on the microphone and he said this has been beautiful and then of course he said Mamba out and in the press conference afterwards he talked about...
how tomorrow morning I'm going to be up early and I'm going to be on the treadmill because I don't want to wake up without purpose he did walk it back a little bit time to say it might not be really early because of the champagne today but I will be there he didn't want to have a life without purpose and it was actually Ramona shell born in that press conference I'll never forget she asked him obviously
Kobeyou're a legendary basketball player but do you ever think that you will be as good at anything else as you are basketball and we've talked about his pursuit of perfection and as we all know he was that good at everything else he won an Oscar so everything that he did he did it with a hundred and ten percent of himself and that relentless pursuit of perfection was something that it was so easy to see he was passing on to his daughters and he was passing it on to the next generation of professional basketball players both men and women he was a huge advocate of the women's game and he doesn't have to validate you know the women's game it is what it is and it's amazing but he was there out of pure respect for these female athletes and he was teaching
Giannahow to follow in their footsteps and I always thought that that was really a fantastic way to not only be a father but to be a coach as well and to teach her the ways of basketball that he knew and introduced her to these women that she could look up to and as a basketball...
player myself those are the kinds of things that you learn and they stay with you the rest of your life you know and so Tom when we're talking about the Mambo mamacita Sports Foundation these kids are learning about their
lives through basketball and that's something that
Bryanthas done for hit them and that will be his lasting legacy the Mamba mentality is not gender specific you know it's for everybody boys and girls athletes of all kinds yeah there really is no debate on the importance of youth sports Cana you know before you came to Los
Angelesyou were in Boston another huge sport City what was it like to move over here to LA and then to kind of move into
KobeCity it definitely is
KobeCity no question about that and of course there's a huge rivalry between the Los
AngelesLakers and the Boston Celtics you know I think
Kobe's so big he's bigger than basketball he's bigger than the Lakers he is Los
Angelesand so you just sort of fall in line I think and actually Tom it reminds me you know they canceled the Lakers game after they were killed you know the last time that an NBA basketball game was canceled was the Boston Marathon bombing and they canceled the Boston Celtics game and so you know when you're a fan of sports you're a fan of sports and there are certain athletes that really transcend the game and I think that everybody whether you're a Celtics fan or a Lakers fan you respect
Kobeand you respect what he gave to...
this game kaena Whitworth for us this morning right here in downtown Los
AngelesCana thank you I want to go back to ESPN analyst and former NBA player for the San Antonio Spurs Bruce Bowen Bruce were just five minutes away from this ceremony about to get underway and I want to know where your minds at today and what you're gonna be thinking about as you watch the ceremony well my mind is just with the families that were lost and and how we get back to some bit of normal activity in your
lives because this is something that will change everyone's
lives forever but at the same time we don't want to we don't want to be sad and and and heartbroken forever over this but we want to try to do something positive with this and I think if there's anyone we can kind of look at and say what would this individual do and talking about Colby he would get back after things and so we understand we have to pick up the pieces in life but more importantly we can utilize what he stood for as far as that work ethic at being the best he could be in any and everything that he touched and use that as a motivating factor every single day that we're out here doing what we do whether it's your passion whether it's your love understand you can do so much more in life with a with a proud heart as far as getting after certain things in life and Bruce what do you think that the league will will take away from this moving forward thinking about
Kobe's legacy we know that...
he most likely will be a Hall of Famer the all-star game changed some things around to honor
Bryantbut moving on from this ceremony right here
Kobewill always have a place in the NBA's history and he definitely will and that's the beautiful part about the MBA is how active they are with former players and you talk about a former player of get of
Kobe's his character his legacy and the way he touched the world with his game you know you will definitely I believe see something that will kind of be a tribute to him as far as the trophy as far as an MVP I mean if anybody has that type of Drive and desire that he had I think it only adds to the value what the league is but most importantly he just it continues to take me back to that individual that will fight tooth and nail for every single thing as long as there was time on the clock
Kobewas going to utilize that time to try to do something spectacular in that moment Bruce Bowen for us from San Antonio today reflecting discussing and analyzing everything that his
bryantfor us on this special here on ABC
livewe are just literally minutes away from this ceremony getting under way I just gotten the two-minute rap we are about to go head inside to the Staples Center to honor
Giannaand the seven others who lost their
lives in that horrific helicopter crash and we can't stress this enough this is about
Giannabut it is about those other people those innocent
who were lost when that helicopter went down nearly a month ago and it happened nearly a month ago but it took just minutes for that accident to take place to realize the impact that
Bryanthad not only here in Los
Angelesput all over the world as a player as somebody who brought Championships here to Los
Angelesas an all-star member of Team USA a future hall-of-famer and also as somebody who was an ambassador for youth sports especially female youth sports coach his daughter
Giannabeing right there on the court side with his daughter games explaining the game to her supporting her we've seen since this death that hashtag girls dad just take off people proud to show that they are fathering daughters that they are part of their
lives and it'll be interesting to see what happens in this ceremony because we really don't know what's gonna happen it's still unclear if Vanessa
Bryantwill be here it's unclear who is gonna speak who is gonna perform we do know that the event sold out 20,000 tickets all the proceeds going to the Mamba and mamasita foundation so these will go to good causes and really the city has made it very clear if you if you don't have a ticket please watch from home please watch on places like ABC
liveand on all the local stations that are covering this because they want this to be a solemn moment a special moment they don't want to have too much congestion they've actually blocked up streets and and put...
barricades with with sort of black cover so people can't look inside they want to keep this as private and as intimate as possible and form up for the last month hundreds of thousands have come through the Staples Center to leave memorabilia to remember
Bryantand today is sort of the epicenter of all of that today will be the day that they honor
Kobeand his daughter
Giannawe are 10 seconds away from the ceremony getting underway right here in the Staples Center that house that
Kobebuilt we thank you for joining our coverage let's go inside yes I'm ready good morning and welcome to the celebration of life for
Bryantand their friends John Kerry and ELISA Altobelli Sarah and Payton Chester Christina Mouser and Aras abuyin on behalf of Vanessa and the entire
Bryantfamily we thank you for your thoughts and prayers during this difficult time and appreciate your love and coming to celebrate the life of these remarkable individuals well this is a
memorialevent the word celebration is very much a part of its purpose and while we ask you to respect the solemnity of the occasion we must not forget to celebrate the
giannaand their friends there is no doubt that he would have wanted that to begin this event a very close friend of the
Bryantfamily is here to show her love and support to Vanessa and all the families here today please welcome beyonce knowles Carter even in the shed maybe gets me I'm here because I love
this was one of his favorite songs so I want to start that over but I want us to do it all together and I want you to sing it so loud are you all ready he loved it even in the shadow maybe gives me Oh to ooh baby daylight's always stay chum is renowned you in the duck my walls a field baby I need someone down didn't even put up the fight they didn't even make the sound I found Willie true but I've never really had it down Hey got my engine pray well they might be only 18 years and five months old but this guy can do everything that the veterans can do and do it better perhaps
Bryantgive to the world we got to do the wish you were here but you're not cause I dream spring back do the work you work hard enough dreams come true those times when you get up early and you work hard all those times you stay up late and you work hard those times we don't feel like working you're too tired you don't want to push yourself but you do it anyway that is actually the tree cousins that's the dream it's not the destination it's the journey if you guys can understand that then what you'll see happen is that you won't accomplish your dreams your dreams won't come true something greater a cowboy to the wish you were here but you might cause a dream but always beating my heart I sincerely sincerely appreciated no words can describe how I feel about you guys thank you thank you from the bottom of my...
heart I love you guys our thanks go out to Beyonce for being with us today and for expressing her love so beautifully another good friend of the
Bryant's and the Laker family is here to help guide us through this morning celebration would you please welcome Jimmy Kimmel well you picked the wrong person to guide you through I'm gonna tell you that right now I want to thank everyone for being here and thank you for gathering to celebrate the
lives of Elissa Altobelli her parents John and Kerry Altobelli Payton Chester her mother Sarah Chester Christina Mauser our as a vayan Gigi
Bryantand her father
Bryantthis is a sad day but it is also a celebration of life of their
lives and of life itself in the building where those of us who are Lakers fans and
Kobefans celebrated so many of the best times of our
lives and I'm honored to have been asked to speak here the proceeds from the tickets you bought I'll go directly to the mama mamacita Sports Foundation which supports youth sports in underserved communities and I also encourage you to go to mama on three org to give to the mama on three fund which was created to honor and provide financial support to the Chester Altobelli sabayon and Mouser families I can only imagine how people this is for them I don't think any of us could have imagined this everywhere you go using his face is number GG's face he's number everywhere and every intersection there are hundreds of murals painted by artists...
who were inspired not because he is a basketball player but because
Kobewas an artist too and not just in LA across the country and
Kobe's hometown Philadelphia in Italy in India the Philippines China New York Phoenix Austin for God's sake it places where you would be booed on the court
Kobeis missing even the great Boston Celtic Bill Russell wore number 24 and the Lakers Jersey to yesterday's game I knew he would come to us eventually today we're joined by
Kobe's teammates and opponents alike his friends his family and his fans as we try to make sense of what happened to these nine beautiful people who were by all accounts so full of life the Left Behind parents friends co-workers classmates siblings and children I've been trying to come up with but something positive to take away from this and it was hard because there isn't much but the best thing I think I was able to come up with is this gratitude it seems to me that all we could do is be grateful for the time we had with them and for the time we have left with each other and that's all in the in the Catholic Church you know which the
Bryantfamily is part of that mass we share the sign of peace this is a moment to hug or shake hands with people around you and it occurred to me that that is something that only seems to happen at church and at sporting events when perfect strangers who love the same team are suddenly hugging and high-fiving and celebrating together and so since we are...
here today to celebrate I like to invite you right now to take a moment to say hello to the people around you whether you know them or not to be grateful for life and for the fact that we are all here together now I'd like to introduce the person who invited us all here today on to 24 because she knew we needed it and we cannot celebrate the
Kobeand Gigi and all the people we lost without honoring the woman that
Kobeand Gigi loved most please welcome Vanessa Bryan thank you thank you all so much for being here means so much to us love you too first I'd like to thank everyone for coming today the outpouring of love and support that my family has felt from around the world has been so uplifting thank you so much for all your prayers I'd like to talk about both Coby and Gigi but I'll start with my baby girl first my baby girl
Bryantis an amazingly sweet and gentle soul she was always thoughtful she always kissed me goodnight and kissed me good morning there were a few occasions where I was absolutely tired from being up with Bianca and Capri and I thought she had left to school without saying goodbye I text and say no kiss and
Giannawould reply with Mama I kissed you you were asleep and I didn't want to wake you she knew how much her morning and evening kisses meant to me and she was so thoughtful to remember to kiss me every day she was daddy's girl but I know she loved her mama and she would always tell me and show me how much...
she loved me she was one of my very best friends she loved to bake she loved putting a smile on everyone's face last August she made a beautiful birthday cake for her daddy it had fondant and looked like it had blue agate crystals
Kobe's birthday cake looked like it was professionally decorated she made the best chocolate chip cookies she loved watching cooking shows and Cupcake Wars with me and she loved watching survivor and MBA games on TV with her daddy she also loved watching Disney movies with her sisters Gigi was very competitive like her daddy with
Giannahad a sweet grace about her her smile was like sunshine her smile took up her entire face like mine
Kobealways said she was me she had my fire my personality and sarcasm she was tender and loving on the inside she had the best laugh it was infectious it was pure and genuine
Giannanaturally gravitated towards each other she had
Kobe's ability to listen to a song and have all the lyrics memorized after listening to the song a couple of times it was their secret talent she was an incredible athlete she was great at gymnastics soccer softball dance and basketball she was an incredible dancer too she loved to swim dance do cartwheels and jumps into our swimming pool and Gigi loved her tick-tock dances gigi was confident but not in an arrogant way she loved helping and teaching other people things at school she offered the boys basketball coaches to help give the boys basketball team some pointers...
like to try and go offense she was very much like her daddy and that they both liked helping people learn new things and master them they were great teachers gigi was very sweet she always made sure everyone was okay she was our Shepherd she always kept our family together she loved family traditions family movie night and geib night on vacations were important to her did you always looked out for everyone she was very much in tune with our feelings and wanted the best for us
Giannawas smart she knew how to read speak and write Mandarin she knew Spanish she had great grades and kept them up all while becoming an incredible basketball player she was president of school spirit on student council she was director's assistant for her school play just like her big sister she was looking forward to graduating eighth grade and moving on to high school with her big sister Natalia I'm so happy she was given the opportunity to know that she was accepted to the same high school she was really happy
Giannamade us all proud and she still does
Giannanever tried to conform she was always herself she was a nice person a leader a teacher wearing a white tee black leggings a denim jacket white high-top converse and a flannel tied around her waist with straight hair was her go-to style she had so much swag and rhythm ever since she was a baby she gave the best hugs and the best kisses she had gorgeous soft lips like her daddy she would hug me and hold me so tight I could feel her...
loved me I loved the way she looked up at me while hugging me It was as if she was soaking me all in we love each other so much I'm mr. so much she was so energetic I couldn't keep up with her energy she laughed Natalia and I on a track once she was about six years old we let her have a head start she's still dust to dust I miss her sweet kisses I missed her cleverness I miss her sarcasm her wit and that adorable sly side smile followed with a grin and a burst of laughter we shared the same cat that ate the canary grin Gigi was sunshine she brightened up my day every day I miss looking at her beautiful face she was always so good a rule follower I knew I could always count on her to do the right thing she was the most loving daughter thoughtful little sister and silly big sister she happily helped carry the little diaper bag or played with them she liked helping me with Bianca and Capri Bianca loved going to the playground swimming and jumping on the trampoline with Gigi I used to tell Gigi that I thought Koko considered her her favorite sister Capri would smile from ear to ear when Gigi walked into the room and Capri reminds me a lot of
Giannathey look alike and just smile with their whole face pure joy we will not be able to see GG go to high school with Natalia and ask her how her day went we didn't get the chance to teach her how to drive a car I won't be able to tell her how gorgeous she looks on her wedding day I'll never get to see my baby girl...
walk down the aisle have a father-daughter dance with her daddy danced on the dance floor with me your hat babies of her own
Giannawould have been an amazing mommy she was very maternal ever since she was really little Gigi would have most likely become the best player in the WNBA she would have made a huge difference she would have made a huge difference for women's basketball gigi was motivated to change the way everyone viewed women in sports she wrote papers in school defending women and wrote about how the unequal pay difference for the NBA and WNBA leagues wasn't fair and I truly feel she made positive changes for the WNBA players now since they knew Gigi's goal was to eventually play in the WNBA I'm still so proud of
Giannashe made a difference and was kind to everyone she met in the 13 years she was here on earth her classmates shared many fond memories about
Giannawith us and those stories reminded me that
Giannaloved and showed everyone that no act of kindness is ever too small to make a difference in someone's life she was always always always considered of others in their feelings she was a beautiful kind happy silly thoughtful and loving daughter and sister she was so full of life and had so much more to offer this world I cannot imagine life without her mommy Natalia Bianca Capri and daddy 11 so much Gigi I will miss your sweet handmade cards your sweet kisses and your gorgeous smile I miss you all of you every day I love you okay Oh for...
Kobewas known as a fierce competitor on the basketball court the greatest of all time a writer an Oscar winner and the Black Mamba but to me he was Koko my booboo my baby boo my papi chulo I was his VB his principessa his Rana his Queen mama mama and his whiskey menisci fabulous key I couldn't see him as a celebrity nor just an incredible basketball player he was my sweet husband and the beautiful father of our children he was mine he was my everything
Kobeand I have been together since I was 17 and a half years old I was his first girlfriend his first love his wife his best friend his confidante and his protector he was the most amazing husband
Kobeloved me more than I could ever Express or put into words he was the earlybird and I was an idol I was fire and he was ice and vice versa at times we balanced each other out he would do anything for me I have no idea how I deserved a man that loved and wanted me more than
Kobehe was charismatic a gentleman he was loving adoring and romantic he was truly the romantic one in our relationship and I looked forward to Valentine's Day and our anniversaries every year he planned special anniversary trips and a special traditional gift for every year of our marriage he even had made my most treasured gifts he just thought outside the box and was so thoughtful even while working hard to be the best athlete he give to me the actual notebook and the blue dress rachel mcadams wore in the notebook movie when I asked him...
why he chose the blue dress he said it was because it's a scene when Ali comes back to Noah we had hope to grow old together like the movie we really had an amazing love story we loved each other with our whole beings - perfectly imperfect people making a beautiful family and raising our sweet and amazing girls a couple weeks before they passed Cobie sent me a sweet text I mentioned how he wanted to spend time together just the two of us without our kids because I'm his best friend first we never got the chance to do it we were busy taking care of our girls and just doing our regular everyday responsibilities but I'm thankful I have that recent text it means so much to me
Kobewanted us to renew our vows he wanted Natalia to take over his company and he wanted to travel the world together we had always talked about how would be the fun grandparents - our daughters children he would have been the coolest grandpa
Kobewas the MVP of girl dad's or MBD he never left the toilet seat up he always told the girls how beautiful and smart they are he taught them how to be brave and how to keep pushing forward when things get tough and we could be retired from the NBA he took over dropping off and picking up our girls from school since I was at home pregnant with Bianca and just recently home nursing Capri when
Kobewas still playing I used to show up an hour early to be the first in line to pick up Natalya and
Giannafrom school and I told him he couldn't drop the...
ball once he took over he was late one time and we most definitely let him know that I was never late so he showed up one hour and 20 minutes early after that he always knew there was room for improvement and wanted to do better he happily did carpool and enjoyed spending time in the car with our girls he was a doting father a father that was hands-on and present he helped me bathe Bianca and Capri almost every night he would sing them silly songs in the shower and continue making them laugh and smile as he lathered them lotion and got them ready for bed he had magic arms that could put Capri to sleep in only a few minutes he said he had it down to a science eight times up and down our hallway he loved taking Bianca to fashion I are gonna watch her play in the koi pond area and love taking her to the park their most recent visit to the koi pond was the evening before he and Gigi passed he shared a love of movies and the breakdown of films with Natalia he enjoyed running out theatres in taking Athaliah to watch the newest Star Wars movie or Harry Potter films and they would have movie marathons and he enjoyed every second of it he loved her typical tearjerkers - he liked watching stepmom steel magnolias and little women he had a tender heart
Kobesomehow knew where I was at all times specifically when I was late to his games he would worry about me if I wasn't in my seat at the start of the heavy CH game and would ask security where I was at the first time out of the first...
quarter and my smart ass would tell him that he wasn't going to drop 81 points within the first 10 minutes of the game I think anyone with kids understands that sometimes we can't make it out the door on time and eventually he was used to my tardiness and balled out the fact that he could play on an intense professional level and still be concerned by making sure we made it to the game safely it was just another example of how family came first to him he loved being
Gianna's basketball coach he told me he wished he would have convinced Nadia to play basketball so that they could have spent even more time together but he also wanted her to pursue her own passion he watched Natalya play in a volleyball tournament on her birthday on January 19th and he noticed how she's a very intelligent player he was convinced she would have made a great point card with her vision of the court and he told me that he wanted Bianca and Capri to take a basketball when they get older so he could spend just as much time with them as he did with Gigi and
Kobealways told Bianca and Capri that they were going to grow up and play basketball and mix the asset now they won't have their daddy and sister here to teach them and that is truly a loss I do not understand but I'm so thankful
Kobeheard Coko say Dada he wasn't going to be here to drop Bianca Capri off at pre-k or kindergarten he wasn't going to be here to tell me to get a grip V when we have to leave the...
kindergarten classroom or show up to our daughters doctor's visits for my own moral support he isn't going to be able to walk our girls down the aisle or spin me around on the dance floor while singing PYT to me but I want my daughters to know and remember the amazing person husband and father he was the kind of man that wanted to teach the future generations to be better and keep them from making his own mistakes he always liked working and doing projects to improve kids
lives he taught us all valuable lessons about life and sports through his NBA career his books his show detail and his puny x' podcast series and we're so thankful he let those lessons and stories behind for us he was thoughtful and wrote the best love letters and cards and Gigi had his wonderful ability to express her feelings and to pay paper and make you feel her love through her words she was thoughtful like him they were so easy to love everyone naturally gravitated towards them they were funny happy silly and they loved life they were so full of joy and adventure God knew they couldn't be on this earth without each other he had to bring them home to heaven together babe you take care of our chichi and I got Nani bebe and Coco we're still the best team we love and miss you boo-boo and Gigi maybe both rest in peace and have fun in heaven until we meet again one day we love you both and miss you forever and always mommy the speaker from whom we are about to hear was very special...
Bryantfamily she's their dear friend who is also a four-time Olympic gold medalist a 3-time WNBA champion three-time NCAA champion the WNBA is all-time leading scorer and if that isn't enough to convince you that she is one of the best of all time
Kobegave her the greatest honor of all he nicknamed her after himself please welcome the white Mamba Diana Taurasi my name is Diana Taurasi thanks Jimmy you stole my first joke I am the white Mamba I would first likely to offer my deepest condolences to all the families who lost a loved one in 1996 I was a lanky awkward freshman in high school obsessively shooting night after night in my driveway on the nights the Lakers played I wouldn't miss a second of the game every time out every commercial I run to the front yard to imitate my favorite Laker
Kobedon't a few lucky occasions my dad would come home from work he was a metal sheet worker in Los
Angeleshe'd come home with Laker tickets watching
Kobeplayed the Great Western forum as a rookie made this little girl believe she could be a Laker one day it was like getting to know myself every single day he made it okay play to play with an edge that borderline crazy early onset Mamba mentality was in full effect years later when I spent time with
Kobeat the 2008 Olympics I learned firsthand it just wasn't limited to the basketball court his competitive fire ran through his veins just like many of us today every single workout I end the same way with...
kobegame-winner three hard dribbles going right left foot plant pivot swing right leg through elevate square up follow-through five Andrew and I got to go home it's that exact same shot that won us a championship in Phoenix in 2014
Kobe's willingness to do the hard work and make the sacrifice every single day inspired me and resonated with the city of Los
Angeleswe struggled together we grew together we celebrated victories together the same passion we all recognized in
Kobeobviously Gigi inherited her skill was undeniable at an early age I mean who has a turn or a fadeaway jumper at 11 LeBron barely got it today but it was her curiosity about the game that was pushing her to pick up the basketball every single day Gigi was in the midst of the best times as a basketball players career no responsibilities no expectations just basketball with your best friends every weekend was a new adventure an opportunity to learn how to work and grow together as a unit as a young kid there's nothing he looked forward to more than long hot summer days in the gym with your homies the same way
Kobeinspired a generation of basketball players Gigi and turned
Kobe's interest in coaching and teaching the game I'm sure I'm not the only one who received the text from
Kobeasking what drills they were doing when they were 13 Gigi in many ways represents the future of women's basketball a future where a young woman aspires to play in the WNBA the same way I wanted...
to be a Laker Jeezy already had goals to play for UConn that in himself showed her fearless mentality she represents a time where a young girl doesn't need permission to play her skill would command respect the last time I saw Gigi the Mamas were in Phoenix for a big AU tournament
KobeBurt brought them to the to the locker room to watch practice I always remember the look on Gigi's face it was a look of excitement a look of belonging a look of fierce determination as a daughter a sister wife and mother we embraced Vanessa Natalya Bianca and Capri we promise to carry Gigi's legacy Coby Gigi Sohn de corazĂłn de los
angelesnew cameron take amo mucho just as her father was to our next speaker our next speaker was to
Giannamentors know no gender or race they just know they're here to help others and what if john --is most impactful teachers and Friends was Sabrina UNESCO following her appearance here this morning she'll fly back to the Bay Area at a face Stanford undoubtedly with thoughts of her time here ever-present in her mind please welcome NCAA all-time leader in points assists and three-point field goals Sabrina UNESCO growing up I only knew one way to play the game of basketball fierce with obsessive focus I was unapologetically competitive I wanted to be the best I loved the work even when it was hard especially if it was hard I knew I was different that my drive was different I grew up watching
Bryantgame after game ring after...
ring living his greatness without apology I wanted to be just like him to love every part of the competition to be the first to show up in the last to leave to love the grind to be your best when you don't feel your best and make other people around you the best version of themselves and to wake up and do it again the next day so that's what I did wake up grind and get better wake up grind and get better a year ago my team Oregon was playing at USC the morning of the game our coaches told us that there was a surprise for the day I was thinking Nike sent us some new shoes or swag or something the game starts and shortly after
Kobewalks in with his daughter
Giannaand two of her teammates they sat courtside while my jaw sat dropped they watched the entire game and that was the first time I met
KobeGG and her teammates came into the locker room after the game he congratulated us on the win that day in our season up to that point but said and I'll never forget don't shoot yourselves in the foot he meant don't settle to keep grinding control what you can the national championship wasn't far and our goal was to win it all I remember gg excited and smiling in the locker room I'd always watch a ton of film of her playing basketball she had a fadeaway better than mine I asked her where she wanted to play ball in college and she said UConn she had the will and determination to be able to play wherever she wanted and if she wanted to go there I wanted...
her there as well she and her teammates hung out with us for a while starstruck than a little shy but always observing whichever school she would come to choose it didn't matter if I represented the president of the women's game gigi was the future and Coby knew it so we decided to build a future together I worked out twice with Gigi over the summer I'd gone down and helped
Kobecoach's team Gigi had so much of her dad's skillset you could tell the amount of hours they spent in the gym practicing her moves she smiled all the time but when it was game time she was ready to kill her demeanor changed almost instantly when the whistle blew I remember one time someone grabbed her Jersey and she sort of just knocked him down and then stepped right over him me and
Kobelooked at each other smiling and he goes I don't know where she learned that from I laughed and said I do you can't teach that and definitely not at her age
Kobewas right she had it I love watching how hard she worked and how much her teammates loved her but also her own desire to be great she always wanted to learn to go to every game she could college NBA WNBA
Kobewas helping worth that because he saw it in her just like he saw it in me his vision for others is always bigger than what they imagined for themselves his vision for me was way bigger than my own more importantly he didn't just show up in my life and leave he stayed we kept in touch always texting calls game visits I drop...
a triple-double and have a text from him a novel triple-double I see with a flex emoji another game another text yo beast mode or easy money I felt some pressure early on in the season and he wrote to me bu it's been good enough and that will continue to be good enough he taught me his step back he told me that if I could bring that to my game it'd be over for any defender trying to guard me he told me how high my ark needed to be on my shot how to angle my foot which leg to kick out how much power to push off real sharpness comes without effort he said he was giving me the blueprint he was giving GG the same blueprint he United us he made it so that the outsiders who had worked everyone else who were driven to be just a little bit different every single day to make those around them behind them and above them a little bit better every single day and they weren't the exception they were the rule I wanted to be a part of the generation that changed basketball for GG and her teammates were being born female didn't mean being born behind where greatness wasn't divided by gender you have too much to give to say silent that's what he said that's what he believed that's what he
lived through GG threw me through his investment and women's basketball that was his next great act a girl dad basketball in many ways was just a metaphor I still text them even though he's not here thank you for everything the rest is for you rest easy my guy the last...
one I sent him said I miss you may you rest in peace my dear friend the texts go through but no response it still feels like he's there on the other end that the next time I pick up my phone he would have hit me back sometimes I find myself still waiting it's so strange to describe him or gg in the past tense you don't get used to that no one tells you that about grief the week after the accident I was in Colorado I had a game and like I do before every game I prayed this time I was thinking about
Kobeand gg his voice is still in my head even if his body is not on this earth and all I wanted was a sign that in some way he still heard me - I looked off into the sky and there it was a beautiful golden sunset the boldest yellow Lakers yellow and further in the distance a helicopter there was my sign that he will forever be with me I heard his voice in my head the last line from one of his books walked until the dark misses a memory and you become the Sun on the next travelers horizon today may feel like darkness he was in so many ways a Sun beaming radiating fixed in the sky I asked each of you every girl dad every human here with a voice a platform in a heart to not let his sunset shine for us for our sport where he wants to invest in us with the same passion and drive and respect and love as he did his own daughter in the end she was a son just starting to rise and God did she glow may their light forever shine Coby and Gigi I love you forever thank you among the...
many dreams that the lovely
Giannawould have realized in her life was that a playing for the greatest women's collegiate basketball teams in history the Huskies of UConn what are the highlights of her and her father's
lives was a visit they made to the campus in March 2019 here today to speak on his friendship with both of them is the 11 time NCAA championship coach of the Huskies Geno Auriemma there's some amazing women in this room weren't there and you just heard from three of them I'm Geno Auriemma and I'm the coach of the UConn women's basketball program and a lot of people are going to talk about basketball today and I don't know that that's why I'm here I'm not here for the basketball part I tried the right of long flowing speech about basketball and I can't do it there's too many thoughts in my head ever since for NASA asked me to speak too many things that made me realize more that I'm here as a father not as a basketball coach and us Italians as these just showed you were very were very very emotional people right Mike he's half Italian so the thoughts that I started to have after I was asked to speak we're obviously about all the people that were on board and if you're a father a grandfather you feel a different a different kind of emotion when there's children involved because this is always about the children we've
lives we have a little bit left they're just starting...
lives and then my next thought came to the original team that
Kobewas responsible for Natalya Bianca Capri Vanessa because we're always teammates you know we're always on a team sometimes it's a big team sometimes it's a small team and that's the most important team and Coby and I shared some history he started in Italy went to Philadelphia and then went to the limelight and the lights and glamour of LA I born in Philadelphia went to Philly and went to the cows up in stores that was a joke because there's no lights and there's no glitz and glamour in Storrs Connecticut and how ironic that he would talk to me about coaching the uncoachable one wants to talk about coaching probably the most uncoachable player in the NBA during his career wants to know about coaching and I wanted to know why he said I'm coaching my daughter's team I said oh my god that poor kid so when I watched the highlights of her playing and on about the third or fourth times she touched the ball
Giannapassed it when she was open I thought she's not listening to her father so he would call and say what kind of defensive drills should I do we have practice and they were gonna work on defense what he thinks the most important thing in teaching man the man further proof he never listened to one word any of his coaches told him so I tried to explain them I said
Kobethey're 13 years old I think you ought to just say hey you know and see that kid with the ball...
try not to let her go by you and see if you're guarding the other guys hate see that kid with the ball over there don't let him throw the ball to your guy keep it kind of simple you know you said no I want to know like what are the rotations when they drive but I said come on come on come on so these are the conversations that we have both as basketball people and as dads who have ever coached their kids if you've ever been in that situation like a lot of people here in this room probably have been and I remember when GG came as you saw in that video she came to very for the very first game that she came to and she came into the locker room and here she is and the look on her face the smile the way her eyes just took everything in how excited she was to be around in her mind royalty Saronic her father's royalty and she's excited to be around royalty that looks just like what she wants to be and the most impressive thing about that point in time was how
Kobestepped as far back as he could so anyone taking pictures anyone there would not know that this was
Bryant's daughter this was her moment this is what hurt her time to shine this was her time to experience all the things that he's experienced his whole life he was being dad he wasn't being
Bryantand he was allowing GG to be GG not
Bryant's daughter in today's day and age that's a hell of a thing for parents to be able to do I'm gonna leave you with just two...
things we got a letter oh I got to tell you about you didn't see it but she did meet the Oregon Ducks women's basketball team and they all gathered around and said you want to take your picture and everybody ran over and GG goes now I'm good she knew what her heart was and you know that little sarcasm good and when they came to when they came to yukon and they sat behind the bench and there's dad bringing his daughter to a game and they had their shirts on and she's got this coat on and she has her hat on and she's just a little kid at a game and again I felt more like a dad than I felt I was a basketball coach because I've done that with my kids and lastly number 24 number eight and number two those are basketball numbers those are numbers in the past those are numbers that we're not going to get back what we do have is today how many numbers of kids like Diana have been inspired to do more to work harder to strive for more and the numbers we also don't have is how many numbers of kids in the future how many women are going to be inspired by Gigi's life how many fathers are inspired by
Kobeto be fathers to really be fathers the way a father supposed to be in this room there is an incredible amount of talent in this room is maybe the greatest collection of talent that I've ever been around but in this room there's a family and there's still a team back home and they still have a great coach and I'm gonna be rooting for...
that team from here on in thank you very much Thank You coach now I want to play for a UConn women's basketball team our next speaker is the general manager of the Los
AngelesLakers for that he was
Kobe's agent and most notably for our purposes today he is one of
Kobe's closest and best friends and Godfather to GG please welcome Rob polenka the world knows
Kobeas a basketball legend but I've been blessed for 20 years to know him as so much more the
KobeI know had three unique sides that I hope to quickly honor today
Kobethe best friend
Kobethe dad and
Kobethe husband I will start with
Kobethe best friend do you remember where you were on that foggy sunless morning of January 26 when the axis of the world seemed to shift forever for all of us I was in Sunday church with my family my phone was deep in the pocket of my jeans when I felt the familiar text buzz for a second I ignored the notification because I was in church but for some reason with this text I felt a sudden urge to check my phone I slipped it out of my jeans and discovered the text was from
Kobethere was nothing uncharacteristic or unfamiliar about this for the last two decades
Kobeand I talked or texted every single day because that's what best friends do in that moment my instincts were to put the phone down and get back to the preacher sermon but a gentle otherworldly nudge compelled me to open the text so I did I quickly saw that
Kobewas asking me if I happen to know a certain...
baseball agent based in Southern California since
Kobe's question didn't have any urgency to do it I decided I'd wait until after church to respond but then again there was a gentle nudge I grabbed my phone and text
Kobeback that I had seen the baseball agent at a Lakers game just the other night and was happy to help him with whatever he wanted it was now just past 9:30
Kobetux back explaining his desire to help a friend of his secured a baseball Agency internship for one of his young daughters
Kobevouched for the girl's character intellect and work ethic he clearly wanted the champion a bright future for her i text
koberight back and said i would put a plan in motion to help him get that done a handful of minutes later Koby and
Giannaand seven other beautiful Souls ascended into heaven Koby had been texting me from the helicopter the girl in that text chain was that he was wanting to help so badly was Lexi Altobelli the surviving daughter of coach John L dabeli who was also on the helicopters
Kobe's last human act was heroic he wanted to use his platform to bless and shape a young girl's future hasn't
Kobedone that for all of us Koby was literally the best friend anyone could ask for he always champion and passionately celebrated the accomplishments of others and downplayed his own the man who had won multiple NBA titles MVPs and an Oscar would buzz with excitement when someone he loved would reach even a simple goal with any achievement...
Kobewas always the first to call this was one of his greatest gifts as a friend and something I will forever miss there's one story that shows this beautiful side to
Kobeas Vanessa shared in the years following his retirement
Kobewas often one of the first carpools to pick up his daughters from school with
Kobein pole position my kids who attended the same school also got to see him often every time they would see him he would greet them with an enthusiasm if they had just one student of the year the other day my nine-year-old daughter Emery had big tears in her eyes because she was so badly missing uncle
Kobeand gg when I asked her why she said daddy whenever
Kobewould see me he would run to me and scoop me up in his giant arms and raised me high above his head
Kobealways made me feel like I was queen of the world
Kobehad a depth of care for people that is unparalleled he made every moment magical as if it was living a fantasy novel this was the case when my family and the
Bryant's went on a camping or I should say glamping trip to Montana we canoed and rode horses went fly-fishing and river rafting and rode on a stagecoach to a campfire dinner under the stars at each turn
Kobemade everything an adventure especially for the kids and of course with all the wilderness activities we did they had to be done to the nth degree if it was fly-fishing we had to learn to tie our own flies and fish standing in the stream with heavy waiter boots on no shortcuts...
coby's enthusiasm and joy for all things life made that trip one for a lifetime another remarkable friendship quality of
Kobey's is that he mastered the art of making the things his friends loved things that he loved when I got the Lakers GM job
Kobewould often say that my life and his life had flipped flopped instead of him I was now the one with the regimented Lakers schedule of practices games and road trips I was now the one daily commuting up the 405 from the OSI to LA on the flip side
Kobewas home chillin in Newport Beach doing all his
KobeInc work from his favorite spot in the world having
lived the demands of the NBA for 20 years
Kobeunderstood the toll it would take on my family time so he and Vanessa would regularly check in with my wife and kids to make sure everything was good and even celebrate how holidays like Halloween with them that's what friends do
lived to make other people's
lives better all the way up until his final text the day after
Kobewas gone I was at home and feeling totally lost I couldn't imagine life without the strength and guidance of my best friend as part of my agreement I felt an overwhelming need to connect with something tangible that represented our friendship a picture of voicemail something that
Kobeleft behind my wife reminded me of the Wiz an artbook
Kobeauthor that had recently given to me I went upstairs and found the book in my library and opened it and on the inside cover he had penned in his with...
his own pen these words 2rp my brother may you always remember to enjoy the road especially when it's a hard one love
KobeKoby wrote these words to me just a few months ago now I realize that perhaps they were meant for us all Koby my brother this road is so so hard and they don't know how to journey on without you but I know you want us to keep going in our memories with you will give us strength to somehow move forward and as you wrote even in the valley of unimaginable loss we will somehow find a way to have joy on Jacobi's next side Coby the dad when Coby retired from playing basketball people would often ask me what how I thought he would fuel his competitive drive the answers came in a couple surprising ways the first was in a new sport tennis right after Coby stopped playing for the Lakers we took up playing tennis at a local private club in Newport Beach we began having epic one-on-one battles I picked the game up faster than him so early on he would often fall behind and that did not sit well with Coby at all so what does the black mamba do the next few times I arrived at the club there he was waiting for me already with a full sweat as his tennis skills exploded I learned that he had secretly reached out to the club's pro for private lessons and didn't share any of it with me typical Mamba mentality we loved our matches and stories and memories we would share on those beautiful California days it was during one of those tennis conversations that...
the other newfound competitive love of his became so clear coaching
Gianna's youth basketball team
Kobetalked constantly about his dream to create the best youth girls basketball team on the planet and he did it started with his individual work with Gigi and quickly spread to all the girls on Team Mamba long practices every night precision and everything the individual drills the set plays the triangle cuts the defensive schemes it was all
Kobe's masterpiece I will never forget what
Kobechallenged my 12 year old sons all-star team to a game against his Mamba team yes girls versus boys
Kobehosted the game at a local highschool gym with refs timekeepers and all he coached from the bench but rarely said anything instead the Mamas were so well prepared they functioned like a Swiss watch everything seemed scripted and burst our boys got smashed Koby and Gigi took it all in stride that's what the mambas do
Kobe's love for coaching grew and grew and grew I remember when
Kobeturned 40 to celebrate our families flew to Cabo to spend a long weekend at one of the most beautiful ocean estates in the world what was the one thing
Kobewanted to do in this heavenly setting watch team Mamba game film with Gigi and me of course breaking down every play
Kobe's love and passion for this team was the perfect representation of how deeply he loved his daughters at the center of all this was his precious Gigi who my wife and I are blessed to be the godparents of from the...
moment Kristen and I dressed Gigi in her pure white lace baptismal dress as an infant she kicked and wiggled her way into our world like only a tourist can gigi was an incredible combination of strength courage grace and dignity with a witty sense of humor that was simply captivating she smiled with her glittering eyes and was literally everything in the world that is good in our home
Giannaand her sister Natalia have become the gold standard for character and kindness Gigi was love and grace and like her dad her life was about blessing blessing others simply put gigi was
Kobe's pride and joy on the basketball court you could see it with every move she made if basketball was the love
Kobeshared with Gigi with Nani
Kobeshare the love for storytelling the two of them seemed to
liveout scenes of the most beautiful movie ever made
Kobeinany had a common language built upon joy and inspiration they could remember and recite movie lines and sing Disney songs always fill in a room with smiles and laughter cobia nanak nani created their own soundtrack for life it seemed and in it you could often find them dancing their days away together around young children
Kobewas like Santa Claus dressed in everyday clothes
Kobehad an unmatched energy to ignite kids and make them smile and laugh in my years as his agent I was told he was one of the most granted make-a-wish celebrities of our generation when
Kobemet a make-a-wish kid It was as if heaven came down to the real world this...
exuberant sense of play captured the way
Kobewould love and father his daughter be be like
KobeBibi is a child of wonderment every moment of Bibi seems born out of joy and excitement and awe and
Kobehad an ability to enter into that world with her
Kobealso had an energy level that would match bb's when the two of them would play I imagined a world coming a
livewhere toy animals would dance teacups would sing and rainbows would shine I had never seen anything like the two of them playing together if you think
Kobe's hands were good with the basketball you should see how his hands were with his daughter Coco he literally had the golden touch watching him cuddle and put Coco to sleep and caress her made you realize just how tender
Kobewas he is literally the Baby Whisperer and in his arms is where you would find Coco always content with peace
Kobewould never miss a detail of his daughter's
lives when he traveled with me for work he would spend hours on the phone connecting and listening to the stories of their days he just loved his girls and there was nothing in the world that meant more to him I remember being in the tunnel with
Koberight over there the last time he would wear his purple and gold
Kobefist-bumped each of his daughters before he ran out the tunnel and in Mamba speaks said something like here's what you do when the world tells you you can't do it anymore
Kobe's sixty points and when that night only is only outshined by his love for...
his family as the world's greatest girl dad
Kobe's final side the husband when God made
Kobethe next great act of his was to fashion Vanessa I know this because they are matched perfectly together and I've had front-row seat to being witness to their love for 20 years I remember all the way back to their wedding day in 2001 in typical
Kobefashion he wanted to master every detail of that day to reflect his love for Vanessa one of the things he was most excited about was carrying Vanessa in his arms over the threshold of their home as a husband and wife for the first time Vanessa brought out
Kobe's romantic side like nobody else in the world could he loved to celebrate holidays with her her birthday anniversary and especially Valentine's Day often he would call me to brainstorm his incredible ideas for special gifts and romantic occasions with her he even loved to write poems and letters to her and make them into beautiful keepsake books simply put
Kobe's love for Vanessa was the energy for his life one particular story captures the depth of
Kobe's love for Vanessa there was a stretch of days when work travel was causing
Kobeto be away from Vanessa for longer than he wanted he called me to explain how hard this stretch was for him one night on the phone
Kobenoticed there was a grand piano in the hotel suite he was staying in he set it back sat by a tall window under the moonlit sky during one of our calls he shared an idea with me he said he...
hadn't been sleeping much at night because he was visit missing Vee and the girls so much while he was away he wanted to
livein his love for Vanessa so at night under the moonlit sky he vowed to teach himself by ear to play the first movement of Beethoven's moonlight sonata when he told me this I thought there's no way I knew he wasn't a trained musician and that was a really difficult piece of music to play but
Kobe's passion and love for Vanessa combined with the patience and focused that only the black mamba has made this seemingly impossible goal a reality that next morning ko be called and played me the first few measures the next morning more by the end of the week he had the entire piece mastered and he played it for me over the phone without a mistake in my heart I knew that moment was one of
Kobe's grandest feats for his deepest love
Kobehad mastered one of the greatest piano movements ever written as a symbol of one of the most beautiful loves the world has ever seen too close I will say this just as the Sun lights the moon to guide us through the night
Kobeand Gigi will continue to shine light in all of us but unlike the Sun
Kobeand Gigi's fuel will never ever burn out because their light is eternal yes the axis of our world shifted that frightful morning a few weeks back but with
Kobeand Gigi's moonlight we will never have to
livein the darkness of night again we will all journey on until one day we will be in heaven together...
again and this time it will be forever I love you dear
Kobeand precious Gigi we love you Vanessa Nonnie Bibi Coco and we are here for you with great care until the end of our days ladies and gentlemen in a moment here to play tribute with her own version of Beethoven's moonlight sonata miss Alicia Keys it was Grammy Sunday when we all learned about the tragic loss of
giannaand their group here at Staples we were all preparing for the Grammy Awards and so is our host Alicia Keys as the sad
newssettled in it became clear that as the world began to mourn them here at the house that
Kobebuilt we had to do more than that and thanks to the inner strength of Alicia Keys she became a messenger of comfort to the people gathered here on that evening as well as to the rest of the world she's here tonight to perform one of
Kobeand Vanessa's favorite musical numbers the immortal moonlight sonata by Beethoven please welcome Alicia Keys amici la Concha and Ricardo who uses until mode to be Ranger this guy right here mark my words it's going to be humble or o'clock in the morning five o'clock good morning taking 500 shots back titles for the Los
AngelesLakers three-peat NBA championship although the first time I knew of the greatness you would think about what should I do to motivate those Tigers kindness but the Lakers do you based evolved to this gift of aha is this for didn't just show that in cultural kids is most importantly...
to you I have to believe that
Koberight now is looking down from heaven and going I am determined to learn to play moonlight sonata better than Alicia Keys for chick hearn is sitting there listen to it all in 1996 our next speaker faced an 18 year-old
Bryanton the court for the first time midway through the game while playing
Kobeasked him for tips on his jump shot
Kobescored 33 points that game against his boyhood idol Michael scored 36 and won the game - please welcome Michael Jordan I would say good morning but it's afternoon I'm grateful to Vanessa and Bryan family for the opportunity to speak today I'm grateful to be here to honor Gigi and celebrate the gift that
Kobegave us all what do you come that's the basketball player as a businessman and a storyteller and as a father in the game of basketball in life as a parent
Kobeleft nothing in the tank he left it all on the floor maybe it's wise people that
Kobeand I are were very close friends but we were very close friends
Kobewas my dear friend he was like a little brother everyone always wanted to talk about the comparisons between he and I I just want to talk about
Kobeyou know all of us have brothers and sisters little brothers little sisters who for whatever reason always tend to get in your stuff your closet your shoes everything it was a nuisance if I can say that word but that nuisance turned into love over a period of time just because the admiration that they have for...
you as Big Brothers Big Sisters the questions they're wanting to know every little detail about life that they were about to embark on he used to call me text me 11:30 2:30 3 o'clock in the morning talking about post up moves footwork and sometimes the triangle at first it was an aggravation but it then it turned into a certain passion this kid had passionate like you would never know and so it's amazing thing about passion if you love something if you have a strong passion for something you would go to the extreme to try to understand or try to get it either ice cream cold hamburgers whatever you have a love for you got the wok you would go get it if you have to beg someone you would go get it what
Bryantwas to me was the inspiration that someone truly cared about the way I either play the game or the way that he wanted to play the game he wanted to be the best basketball player that he could be and as I got to know him I wanted to be the best big brother that I could be to do that you have to put up with the aggravation the late-night calls for the dumb questions I took great pride as I got to know
Bryantthat he was just trying to be a better person a better basketball player we talked about business we talked about forgive me we talked about everything and he was just trying to be a better person now he's got me I'll have to look at another crime mean for the Knicks I told my wife how we're gonna do this because I didn't want to...
see that for the next three or four years that is what
Bryantdoes to me I'm pretty sure of Vanessa and his friends all could say the same thing he knows how to get to you in a way that affects you personally even though if he's being a pain in the ass but it she always ever had sense of love for him and the way that he can bring out the best in you and he did that for me I remember maybe a couple of months ago he sends me a text and he said I'm trying to teach my daughter some moves and I don't know what I was thinking or what I was working on but what would you what were you thinking about when you were trying to as you've grown up trying to work on your moves I say what age he says 12 I said 12 I was trying to play baseball he sends me a text back saying laughing my ass off and this is at two o'clock in the morning but the thing about him was we could talk about anything that related to basketball but we can talk about anything that related to life and we as we grew up in life really have friends that we can have conversations like that well it's even rare where you can grow up against adversaries and have conversations like that I went and saw Phil Jackson in 1999 or maybe 2000 i don't know when phil was here in LA and I walk in and
Kobeis sitting there and the first thing I'm in a soup first thing
Kobesaid did you bring your shoes no I wasn't thinking about playing but his attitude to compete and play against someone he felt...
like he can enhance and improve his game to me that's what I loved about the kid absolutely loved about the kid the amount of when he saw me it was a challenge and I admired him because his passion you rarely see someone who's looking and trying to improve each and every day not just in sports but as a parent as a husband I am inspired about what he's done and what he shared with Vanessa and what he shared with his kids I have a daughter who is thirty who just became a grandparent and I have two twins I have twins at six I can't wait to get home to become a girl dad and to hug them and the see the love that didn't the smiles that they bring to us as parents he taught me that just by looking at this tonight looking at how he responded and reacted with the people they actually love these are the things that we will continue to learn from
Bryantto Vanessa Natalia Bianca Capri my wife and I will keep you closer in our hearts in our prayers we will always be here for you always I also want to offer our condolences and support to all the families affected by this enormous tragedy
Kobegave every last ounce of himself to whatever he was doing after basketball he showed a creative side to himself that I didn't think any of us knew he had in retirement he seemed so happy he found new passions and he continued to give back as a coach in his community more importantly it was amazing dad amazing husband who dedicated himself to his family and who loved his...
daughters with all his heart
Kobenever left anything on the court and I think that's what he would want for us to do no one knows how much time we have that's why we must
livein the moment we must enjoy the moment we must reach and see and spend as much time as we can with our families and friends and the people that we absolutely love to
livein the moment means to enjoy each and every one that we come in contact with when
Bryantdied a piece of me died and as I look in this arena and across the globe a piece of you died or else you wouldn't be it those are the memories that we have to
livewith and we learn from I promise you from this day forward I will
livewith the memories of knowing that I had a little brother that I tried to help in everywhere I could please rest in peace little bruh there have been many great in the history of the MBA but none better or more fun to follow than
Kobeand Shaq they want three titles in a row together and their names will be linked for all time please welcome Shaquille O'Neal when I have imagined speaking to a group of people about
Bryanta vision the context this Hall of Fame induction where's the best people wanna go Vanessa's Foundation
livebut never ever that I've imagined we have been watching a celebration of life the
memorialhere at the Staples Center in downtown Los
Angelesthere seems to be a small technical difficulty with the feed coming in but we've...
just been witnessing some incredible moments it sounds like the feed is just come back let's go back inside Shaquille O'Neal now seeking greatest basketball of all time and I am proud that no other team has accomplished what the three-peat Lakers have done some checking and the
KobeLakers did it yes sometimes like immature kids we arguably false we ban it or insulted each other with offhand remarks our field but make no mistake even the folks stopped we were on bad terms when the cameras are turned off he and I were throw a wink at each other and say let's go whoop some ass you never took it seriously in truth coke and I always maintained a deep respect and a love for one another today I gained the day
Kobegained my respect was the guys were complaining she said
Kobe's not passing the ball I said I'll talk to him I said
Kobethere's no I in team and
Kobesaid I know but there's so weird so we're back into a rigid enough and bigshot Baba said just get the rebound he's not passing Mambo you were taken away from us way too soon your next chapter of life was just beginning but now it's time for us to continue your legacy you said yourself that everything negative pressure challenges is all opportunity for me to rise so we now take that sage advice and now rise from anguish and begin with the healing just know that we got your back little brother I'll look after things down here I'll be sure to teach Natalia Bianca and baby Capri...
all your moves and I promise I will not teach them my free throw techniques but for now I'll take comfort in fact as we speak Coby and Gigi are holding hands walking to the nearest basketball court Colby will show us a little Mambo rules today and Gigi soon masters of
Kobeor Heaven's MVP I love you my man until we meet again rest in peace thank you so much for tonight but you know it's not it's not about my jerseys that are hanging up there for me you know it's about the jerseys that were hanging up there before and without them I couldn't be here today they inspired me to play the game on a high level and it's also about the next generation embodying the spirit that exists in those jerseys up there and carrying this organization forward so that the next 20 years are better than the past 20 years and that's what it's about it's also about the fans fans it's about family it's about my wife Vanessa you know you guys but the last game my last game that we had here against Utah Jazz I was really tired I got home and I was like you know what I don't know if I can do this thing I got one more game left but I don't have any legs and she said I want to show you something I got a gift for you for your last game and she proceeded to show me the row of retired jerseys from Baylor for magic from Shaq from Kappa all the personal messages science' me including for Michael Jordan included from the great Bill Russell included...
from the great Larry Bird and when I saw that I knew then that I had to turn it up to turn it off so thank you baby for being an inspiration to me and and lastly our daughters Natalia
Giannaand Bianca you know I hope that tonight is not you know you guys know that you know if you do the work you work hard enough dreams come true thank you guys so much I love you gentlemen please welcome six-time of a Award winner Christina Aguilera Chris Aguilera thank you Christina that was beautiful and in Italian as well thank you thank you so much Thank You Koby as you know had big plans after basketball he had many interests one of them was film one of them was the mamasita foundation he published books but he wanted to make movie he could moving and of course because he is
Bryantthe first movie he made won an Oscar and this is
Kobe's Academy award-winning film called deer basketball do dear basketball from the moment I started rolling my dad's tube socks issue an imaginary game when his shots in a Great Western forum I knew one thing was real I fell in love with you I love so deep I gave you my all from my mind and body to my spirit in soul as a six-year-old boy deeply in love with you I never saw the end of the tunnel I only saw myself running out of one so I ran I ran up and down a food court after every loose ball field the us from also I gave you a heart because it came so much I played through this way not because talents called but because you I did...
everything for you because that's what you're doing with all means you feel as a
liveas you feel you give a sis your boys like a drink and now always looking for it but I can't love you excessively for much longer the season is all I have left to give the heart can take the pounding my mind can handle the grind but my body knows it's time to say goodbye nothing that's okay I'm ready to let you go I want you to know now so we both can savor every moment we have left together the good and the bad giving each other no matter what I do next the power will always be that kid with the rolled-up socks five seconds one o'clock my hands five four three two love you always career well there you have it Thank You Vanessa we love you we love your kids will pray for you and for the Chester Altobelli so bye in Mouser families please support the mama on three fund please support the mama and mamacita sports foundation it's what co-ed Gigi would have wanted thank you for coming and don't forget work hard and hug the people you love good afternoon everyone his name echoing through the Staples Center one more time an incredible ceremony honoring and incredible life at times there were moments that you couldn't help but cry and other times there were moments you couldn't help but laugh and the mom of mentality would
Bryantcalled sort of his inner spirit when he would turn it on here in the Staples Center in the middle of a basketball game...
we saw with his wife Vanessa Bryan taking to the stage honoring her daughter and her husband the courage it took to speak here's just one moment from her eulogy that was so powerful God knew they couldn't be on this earth without each other you had to bring them home to heaven together babe you take care of our chichi and I got nanny baby and Coco we're still the best team we love and miss you boo-boo and Gigi maybe both rested in peace and have fun in heaven until we meet again one day we love you both and miss you forever and always mommy Vanessa
Bryantthey're saying goodbye to both her daughter and her says her husband calling him and MVD the most valuable dad I want to bring in Cana Whitworth one of my colleagues from ABC
Newsand Cana we were watching this together
liveand as parents and as people who watched
Bryantplay it was just so amazing to see the courage it took for her to go up there and her words were so powerful I agree remember we didn't know if she was gonna even be there and so for her to stand up and for her to talk and for her to share some of those really poignant memories I know for me at least now I envisioned Gigi doing some of those things that made her happy she told the story about Gigi lapping her on a track despite her giving her the headstart I thought those memories were really important and I thought the way she de
livered them with such strength in a packed Staples Center and had to make everybody's heart feel a...
little bit at ease while it breaks for her at the same time because you know you're going she's going home to take care of her team like she said that was that was really hard and I just think she was so honest you know she called her
Kobe's relationship perfect perfectly imperfect people yeah and it was really something probably anybody can relate to and she was just so down-to-earth about how
Kobetreated her how he was as a husband to her on Valentine's Day on their anniversaries talking about him as a father and talking about her daughter in those special moments but again we can't say it enough it was truly incredible to see her take that stage to sort of command the Staples Center and show the respect that
Kobeand and his daughter deserved I agree and when you say it was sort of like they were a normal couple right they tried to paint that picture which they are but they also weren't you know they were also celebrities and everything loved by everyone in Los
Angelesand when she told the story about how he brought her home the props from the notebook the blue dress and because that was the kind of man he was he really had a soft spot I think that maybe a lot of us didn't quite know about until today even though you see that in his interactions with his daughters when you hear Vanessa talk about it you really give a glimpse into what their life was like and what anyway it was incredible there were also some moments that that we couldn't...
stop laughing yeah Shaquille O'Neal and of course with Michael Jordan one of the greatest players maybe the greatest player to ever play the game
Kobepicked up for him right after Michael finished his career and and he had some words both funny and touching for
Bryanthe's got me I'll have to look at another crime mean for the Knicks when
Bryantdied a piece of me died and as I look in this arena across the globe a piece of you died or else you wouldn't be here those are the memories that we have to
livewith and we learn from I promise you from this day forward I will
livewith the memories of knowing that I had a little brother that I tried to help in everywhere I could please rest in peace little paw rest in peace -
Bryant- all those people who died and that horrific helicopter crash just behind me you can see the crowd you can hear them cheering for
Bryantnearly everyone in subtype of
BryantJersey wearing the number eight wearing the number 24 this was a celebration of his life and this really was a celebration that we witnessed over the last two hours so many fans out here so happy all the proceeds of this going to the Mamba and mamasita foundation we thank you for watching ABC
livetoday our coverage of a celebration of life remembering
GiannaBryan I'm Tom yamas at the Staples Center in Los
Angeleswe leave you now with a few moments from today's incredibly moving ceremony the celebration of life for...
Bryantand their friends John Kerry and ELISA Altobelli Sarah and Payton Chester Christina Mauser and Aras abuyin my baby girl she was a beautiful kind happy silly thoughtful and loving daughter and sister she was so full of life and had so much more to offer this world in the end she was a son just starting to rise and God did she go Gigi would have most likely become the best player in the WNBA she would have made a huge difference I miss you all of you every day now for my soulmate I was his VB history TSM quezon inna his Queen mama mama and his be scheming easkey Babu easkey he always told the girls how beautiful and smart they are you taught them how to be brave and how to keep pushing forward when things get tough with
Kobeand Gigi's moonlight we will never have to
livein the darkness of night again we will all journey on until one day we will be in heaven together again in this time it will be forever I love you dear Coby and precious GG God knew they couldn't be on this earth without each other he had to bring them home to have them together so I miss you take care of our chichi and I got 90 BPM Coco we're still the best team we love and miss you boo-boo and chichi you both rest in peace you have fun in heaven until we meet again one day who love you both and miss you good morning and welcome to the celebration of life for Coby and
Bryantand their friends John Kerry and ELISA Altobelli Sarah and Payton Chester Cristina...
Mouser and Aras abuyin on behalf of Vanessa and the entire