‘Emotional’ LeBron James speaks out on Vanessa Bryant, attending Kobe-Gianna memorial
Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James applauded Vanessa Bryant for her strength during Monday’s Celebration of Life memorial service for Kobe and Gianna Bryant, which LeBron may or may not have attended.
The Lakers legend’s widow courageously eulogized her late husband and daughter in front of a full house at Staples Center, and LeBron admitted he was an emotional wreck:
LeBron said yesterday he was “emotionally a wreck like everyone else. It was a challenging day for all of us.” But he declined to say whether he attended the memorial.
His biggest takeaway was “how strong and how bold Vanessa is to stand up there the way she did.”
— Bill Oram (@billoram) February 25, 2020
“God knew [Kobe and Gianna] couldn’t be on this Earth without each other. He had to bring them home to have them together,” Vanessa said.
Her words were followed by a string of poignant remarks from other friends and peers of Kobe and Gianna — including emcee Jimmy Kimmel, Michael Jordan, Diana Taurasi, Sabrina Ionescu, Geno Auriemma, Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka, and Shaquille O’Neal. Beyonce, Alicia Keys, and Christina Aguilera performed musical odes.
Many celebrities and past and present members of the NBA family showed up to pay respects. LeBron reportedly was in attendance, though the Lakers star wasn’t spotted by any cameras and declined to confirm it on Tuesday. (Diana Taurasi did seem to gesture specifically toward somebody when she took a playful shot at LeBron’s jumper.)
James and Bryant had developed a friendship in recent years, and Kobe had called LeBron the night before his tragic death to congratulate LeBron on passing him on the NBA’s all-time scoring list. LeBron and Lakers teammate Anthony Davis got new tattoos dedicated to Kobe.
James delivered emotional remarks on Bryant at Staples Center in the Lakers’ first home game after the passing of Kobe:
It has been nearly a month since Kobe and Gianna’s deaths, but this tragedy will surely continue to weigh on all those affected for a long time.