The city of Los Angeles commemorates the lives of Kobe and Gianna Bryant


Fox News

Kobe and Gianna Bryant a long with seven others lost their lives in a tragic helicopter accident on Jan. 26.

Parampreet Aulakh

It has been nearly a month since a helicopter crash claimed the lives of Kobe and Gianna Bryant along with seven others. Family, friends and fans gathered at the Staples Center on Feb. 24 for A Celebration of Life.

Fans could register on Ticketmaster starting on Feb. 14 for a chance to purchase tickets for the memorial which were priced at $224. Many fans who registered such as myself received notice that the demand for tickets was so high that we would be put into the waitlist and not have a chance to purchase the tickets. All proceeds from the memorial would go directly to the Mamba and Mambacita Sports Foundation.

The memorial was presided over by comedian Jimmy Kimmel and featured musical performances by Beyoncé Knowles and Alicia Keys. The most heartfelt and powerful speech was delivered by Kobe’s wife, Vanessa Bryant. She began by talking about her beloved daughter Gianna who, like her father, was destined to accomplish great things. She also painted a picture of Kobe that most fans never got to see until his retirement, a devoted father and husband. Vanessa closed her speech with probably the most fitting quote to sum up the love Kobe had for Gianna.

“God knew they couldn’t be on this earth without each other,” Bryant said. “He had to bring them home together.”

She was followed up by three of the biggest names in women’s basketball, Diana Taurasi, Sabrina Ionescu and Coach Geno Auriemma of Connecticut. Kobe had always been a firm advocate for women’s basketball and with his daughter Gianna beginning to follow in his footsteps, he became even more involved. To me, this portion of the memorial served as a reminder for how much potential we never got to see realized with Gianna. With how great of a basketball player she was at age 13, it would have been realistic to think that she could have been one of the greatest female basketball players ever.

The final three speakers were Kobe’s best friend and agent Rob Pelinka, Kobe’s idol growing up, Michael Jordan and Kobe’s former teammate with the Lakers, Shaquille O’Neal. They all shared various anecdotes about times they had spent with Kobe which even included some jokes to provide so much needed levity during the proceedings. 

Staples Center was filled with a roller coaster of emotions throughout the memorial. Tears were shed across the building and even some brief moments of laughter but on the whole, it was a somber atmosphere. I don’t think I have ever seen that many past or present NBA players together which just goes to show how much of an impact he had on the landscape of basketball. 

Some students at Daniel Pearl Magnet High School took time during the school day to watch one of the various memorial live streams and it stirred up a lot of emotions. The impact that Kobe Bryant left on the city of Los Angeles will never truly be able to be quantified. Los Angeles is an extremely diverse city and the love it has for one man has managed to unite people from all walks of life. During an era where we are divided by so much, this tragedy has managed to bring everyone together.

I have been a diehard Kobe fan since as long as I can remember and he’s always been a constant in my life. He was someone that was always there and some of his legendary performances on the court always managed to lift me up. The combination of immediate shock and sorrow I felt when he passed is something I’ve never felt before and at various points throughout the last month, that sorrow has returned at inopportune times. 

Reality still hasn’t really set in yet because he was someone I always saw as invincible and there is still a part of me that doesn’t believe he’s gone. The best thing I or any of his millions of fans across the world can do at this point is to live our lives with the same hard work, passion and dedication he possessed for the things he truly loved.