LOS ANGELES, Calif. (KRON)- Thousands of people gathered at Staples Center on Monday to say farewell to Kobe and Gianna Bryant after they and seven others were killed in a horrific helicopter crash.
Fans of the basketball legend gravitated to Kobe’s widow, Vanessa Bryant, through social media to see how she was coping and to let her know they’d be there to support her.
Monday morning fans packed ‘the house that Kobe built,’ to celebrate the life of No. 2 and No. 24.
Inside the arena people could be seen wearing purple and gold, while others wore black.
Pictures panned the screen showing moments of Kobe and Gianna’s life.
Late night host Jimmy Kimmel, introduced Bryant’s widow, Vanessa to the stage.
Everyone in the arena took to their feet to give a standing ovation as they await to hear Vanessa’s voice.
Moments before Vanessa’s eulogy for Kobe and Gigi, she took one deep breath and said, ‘okay.’ With much grace and courage, Vanessa powered through an amazing speech.
Vanessa’s eyes were filled with tears as she reflected back on memories with her husband and daughter.
Vanessa shared personal stories and beautiful family memories calling Kobe, ‘the MVP of girl dads.’ She graciously opened a window into their lives and the love that their family shared.
“God knew they couldn’t be on this earth without each other,” Vanessa said. “He had to bring them home to have them together. Babe, you take care of our Gigi.”
Vanessa explained how Gianna’s smile was like sunshine.
“Her smile took up her entire face. Like me. Kobe always said she was like me. She had my fire, my personality and sarcasm. She was tender and loving on the inside. She had the best laugh. She had the best laugh. It was infectious. It was pure and genuine,” Vanessa said.
Vanessa goes on to predict that Gianna could have become ‘the best player in the WNBA.’
Shortly following her eulogy for her daughter, she reflects back on her husband who she’s been with since 1999.
“He was the most amazing husband,” she said. “Kobe loved me more than I could ever express or put into words. I was fire. He was ice. Vice versa at times. … He was my everything.”
Vanessa Bryant showed bravery and tremendous strength during Monday’s memorial. Moments after the event fans took to social media to praise the widow for her courage.
“Vanessa Bryant, you’re strength.” –@MikeJohnson1_
“The strength of Vanessa Bryant, to get up there in front of a sold out Staples Center & talk about this tragedy, it’s out of this world. Prayers out to this woman & the entire family. We miss you Kobe & GiGi.” –@SterlSilva
“You are the true definition of a Woman. I admire your strength, grace, and resilience. Truly so proud of you. I know God is proud. Kobe and Gi Gi are smiling down on you. We love you and the girls @VanessaBryant Heaven is Rejoicing Today #2 #24″ –@ciara
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