Kobe Bryant’s ‘Celebration of Life’ was a tearful and powerful experience for all

Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna, and seven other victims of a fatal helicopter crash on Jan. 26 in Calabasas, CA were honored on Monday at STAPLES Center.

The “Celebration of Life” was a ticket only memorial event, and a crowd of 20,000 was expected to attend. Over 80,000 people entered the ticket lottery – with tickets ranging in price from $24.02 to $224 – and the proceeds will be donated to the Mamba and Mambacita Sports Foundation.

The service was be streamed by various news outlets on TV and online, including the Los Angeles Times and KTLA.

The memorial date of 2-24-20 carries significance. The ‘2’ represents Gianna’s jersey number. Bryant famously wore No. 24. And, 20 is the number of years Kobe played for the Lakers, as well as the number of years Kobe and wife Vanessa spent together.

Days after the crash, over 250,000 people visited LA Live to pay their respects, leaving thousands of items, including basketballs, shoes, flowers and even handwritten messages.

Hundreds of ticket holders were standing in line since early Monday morning, and the doors to STAPLES Center opened at 8 a.m.

Here is a look at the scene before the memorial:

More from inside the memorial:

The who’s who of the sports and entertainment world were on-hand to celebrate Bryant:

The celebration of life opened with a tribute from Beyonce:

Jimmy Kimmel, who oversaw the entire ceremony, followed:

Then, Kobe’s wife and Gianna’s mother Vanessa Bryant took the stage:

The great Michael Jordan was on-hand, not only to speak, but offer his support to Vanessa:

She was the epitome of strength:

Other speakers included WNBA legend Diana Taurasi, Oregon Ducks superstar guard Sabrina Ionescu, Connecticut coaching legend Geno Auriemma, and Kobe’s best friend and former agent Rob Pelinka.

Next, Alicia Keys performed one of Kobe and Vanessa’s favorite songs, Beethoven’s “Moonlight Sonata”:

Jordan followed Keys:

He made a few jokes through tears:

Jordan finished with the sincerest of words:

Kobe’s most famous teammate Shaquille O’Neal next took the stage to honor Bryant:

The memorial finished with chants of “Kobe” echoing throughout STAPLES Center:

Others took to social media to express their sentiments:


Several locations around the city broadcasted the memorial:

The ‘Celebration of Life’ also went beyond the walls of STAPLES.