Monday, February 24 was the official memorial for Kobe Bryant and daughter Gianna after their untimely death from a helicopter crash last month. The memorial was held in the Staples Center, where Bryant led the LA Lakers to five NBA championships and where both his jersey numbers, 8 and 24, are retired. Kobe, 41, died in a helicopter crash with his daughter Gianna, 13, and 7 others. The public memorial to celebrate the lives of both of them and allow fans to mourn was attended by many celebrities and friends of the family. 

Among those to take the stage were other NBA legends Michael Jordan and Shaquille O’Neal, performers Beyonce and Alicia Keys, Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka, and Bryant’s wife and Gianna’s mom Vanessa. 

Beyonce was joined by a choir to perform a beautiful rendition of one of Bryant’s favorite songs “XO” and “Halo.” Alicia Keys played “Moonlight Sonata.” 

Michael Jordan gave a tearful speech for Bryant, who was one of his young competitors. The most touching moment of the day, though, was when Vanessa took the podium to discuss the lives of her husband and daughter. Vanessa honored both her daughter, who was poised to follow in her father’s footsteps to become a professional basketball player, and her husband who retired from the NBA in 2016. Kobe and Vanessa share four daughters together and Kobe is a self-proclaimed “Girl Dad.” 

Monday’s memorial was a great opportunity for friends, family, and fans to remember and honor Gianna and Kobe, whose death was felt deeply around Los Angeles.

By Oorie Garabedian

Photo: Keith Allison