Thousands of people including mourners and fans of the late laker’s star Kobe Bryant trooped to the Staples Center in downtown Los Angeles on Monday to bid farewell to the departed sportman and his daughter Gianna Bryant who passed on on January 26 after a helicopter crash that also claimed nine other lives.
The memorial service in their honour was dubbed the celebration of life attracted friends and colleagues from all works of life who halted all other activites just to pay their last respect.
The 2/24 date for the memorial was significant in a way in that it coincides with Bryant’s jersey number — “24” — and Gianna’s “2” jersey number.
Vanessa Bryant, Kobe’s wife and Gianna’s mother, opened the memorial with tearful remarks about her ‘baby girl’ and her ‘soulmate’.
‘God knew they couldn’t be on this Earth without each other,’ Vanessa said. ‘He had to bring them home to have them together.’
Notable personality at the events includes Laker’s legend Magic Johnson, filmmaker Spike Lee and rapper Snoop Dogg.
NBA legends Michael Jordan and Shaquille O’Neal took the stage later on, both breaking down in tears as they remembered their late friend and rival.
Lucky fans who were able to nab one of the much-sought after 20,000 tickets for the memorial wore the gold and purple colors of the Lakers as they headed for the two-and-a-half hour ceremony scheduled to start at 10 am (1800 GMT) amid tight security.
The service also featured musical performances by Beyoncé, Alicia Keys and Christina Aguilera.