Tag Archives: Gianna Bryant

Vanessa Bryant Speaks For The First Time At Kobe And Gianna’s Memorial

(LOS ANGELES, Ca. (AP) – Kobe Bryant’s wife offered a poignant portrait of her NBA superstar husband and their daughter Monday at a packed memorial service for the two, who were among nine people killed last month in a helicopter crash in Los Angeles.

Speaking at times through tears, Vanessa Bryant praised her husband’s devotion to their family as she addressed thousands of fans gathered at Staples Center to remember Bryant and 13-year-old Gianna.

”God knew they couldn’t be on this Earth without each other,” Vanessa Bryant said. ”He had to bring them home to have them together. Babe, you take care of our Gigi.”

The service took place at the downtown arena where Bryant played for the Los Angeles Lakers for the final 17 seasons of his two-decade NBA career. Thousands of Lakers fans, many wearing Bryant’s jersey or team colors, attended the tearful gathering to honor Los Angeles’ most popular athlete and a global basketball icon.

The ceremony began with Beyonce performing her songs ”XO” and ”Halo” with dozens of backup musicians. Alicia Keys performed Beethoven’s ”Moonlight Sonata” later in the program, and Christina Aguilera sang ”Ave Maria.”

The two-hour program concluded with ”Dear Basketball,” Bryant’s Academy Award-winning short film.

After Jimmy Kimmel welcomed the crowd, Vanessa Bryant remembered the family’s life with Gianna and her three siblings and then eulogized her husband. They had been together 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.”

The mourners included Lakers greats such as Jerry West, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Magic Johnson and Pau Gasol. NBA Commissioner Adam Silver joined Michael Jordan, Shaquille O’Neal, Phil Jackson and dozens of current NBA players, including Stephen Curry, Kyrie Irving and Los Angeles natives James Harden, Russell Westbrook and DeMar DeRozan. Celebrities such as Kanye West, Kim Kardashian, Jennifer Lopez and Alex Rodriguez also attended.

Jordan, the Chicago Bulls great whose career was wrapping up as Bryant’s was starting in the late 1990s, praised Bryant as ”one of my dear friends. He was like a little brother. … As I got to know him, I wanted to be the best big brother that I could be.”

O’Neal and Bryant joined the Lakers together in 1996, and they won three consecutive championships during eight tumultuous seasons in purple and gold. Although their relationship was often publicly rocky, Shaq said the two were always friendly in private, even comparing their dynamic to John Lennon and Paul McCartney.

”Kobe and I pushed each other to play some of the greatest basketball of all time,” O’Neal said. ”I’m proud nobody has accomplished what the threepeat Lakers have done since the Shaq and Kobe Lakers did it.”

O’Neal also got the biggest laugh in the somber service with a profane joke about an exchange in which Shaq told Kobe there was no ”I” in team, but Bryant responded by noting that there is an ”M-E.”

Vanessa Bryant was followed on the podium by basketball stars Diana Taurasi and Sabrina Ionescu. Kobe Bryant was a passionate advocate for women’s basketball, and Gigi Bryant was a promising young player.

”If I represented the present of the women’s game, Gigi represented the future, and Kobe knew it,” said Ionescu, the Oregon star who was mentored by Bryant.

Rob Pelinka, Bryant’s longtime agent before he became the Lakers’ general manager in 2017, referred to the day of the crash as ”when the axis of the world seemed to shift forever, for all of us.” Pelinka was also Gigi Bryant’s godfather, and the families were close.

He also revealed that Bryant had texted him only moments before the crash, asking for help in securing an internship with a baseball agent for teenager Alexis Altobelli, who lost her parents and younger sister in the crash moments later.

”Kobe lived to make other people’s lives better, all the way up to his final text,” Pelinka said.

Continue reading Vanessa Bryant Speaks For The First Time At Kobe And Gianna’s Memorial

The Hawks Honor Kobe Bryant

(Atlanta, Ga) – The Atlanta Hawks  joined the basketball community in honoring and mourning NBA legend Kobe ‘Bean’ Bryant.
As the Hawks took to the court to face the Wizzards at State Farm Arena there was a moment of silence and a 24-second shot clock violation and an 8-second half-court violation in honor of the man who started the mamba mentality.
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The  future hall of famer and his 13-year-old daughter were among those who died in a helicopter crash in California yesterday. Fans all over the world are shocked and devastated.  John Collins said he almost didn’t want to play as the weight of the tragedy was so heavy.  But the game did go on with Trae Young leading the Hawks to a 152-133 victory.
Young had his average double double with 45 points on 24 shot attempts and 14 assists.  He wore #8 in honor of Bryant and post game said that Kobe was with him. In classic Kobe fashion, Trae nailed a 42-footer at the buzzer. To sum it up, Trae was the first NBA player to have a 45 point double-double with less than 25 attempts since Kobe did it on December 17th, 2006.
Turns out that Kobe’s daughter GiGi considered Trae to be her favorite player.  She had only been to 3 NBA games this year and two of those were Atlanta Hawks’ games to see Trae play.
De’Andre Hunter also chipped in 25 pts. Up next, the Hawks will head to Toronto Tuesday. They’re back home Thursday hosting the 76ers.

Retired NBA Star Kobe Bryant and Daughter Gianna Killed In Helicopter Crash

(LOS ANGELES, CA) –  Kobe Bryant, the 18-time NBA All-Star who won five championships and became one of the greatest basketball players of his generation during a 20-year career with the Los Angeles Lakers, died in a helicopter crash Sunday. He was 41.

Bryant died in a helicopter crash near Calabasas, California, a source told The Associated Press. It was unclear if family members were on the helicopter. The crash happened around 10 a.m. near about 30 miles northwest of downtown Los Angeles.

Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Allen Kenitzer said it was a Sikorsky S-76 and it was not known what caused the crash.

Bryant retired in 2016 as the third-leading scorer in NBA history, finishing two decades with the Lakers as a prolific scorer with a sublime all-around game and a relentless competitive ethic. He held that spot in the league scoring ranks until Saturday night, when the Lakers’ LeBron James passed him for third place during a game in Philadelphia, Bryant’s hometown.

”Continuing to move the game forward (at)KingJames,” Bryant wrote in his last tweet. ”Much respect my brother.”

Bryant had one of the greatest careers in recent NBA history and became one of the game’s most popular players as the face of the 16-time NBA champion Lakers franchise. He was the league MVP in 2008 and a two-time NBA scoring champion, and he earned 12 selections to the NBA’s All-Defensive teams.

He teamed with Shaquille O’Neal in a combustible partnership to lead the Lakers to NBA titles in 2000, 2001 and 2002. He later teamed with Pau Gasol to win two more titles in 2009 and 2010.

Bryant retired in 2016 after scoring 60 points in his final NBA game.

Bryant looms large over the current generation of NBA players. After James passed Bryant on Saturday, he remembered listening to Bryant when the superstar came to speak at a childhood basketball camp.

”I remember one thing he said: If you want to be great at it, or want to be one of the greats, you’ve got to put the work in,” James said. ”There’s no substitution for work.”

James later teamed up with Bryant on the 2008 U.S. Olympic team in Beijing.

”He had zero flaws offensively,” James said. ”Zero. You backed off of him, he could shoot the 3. You body him up a little bit, he could go around you. He could shoot from mid-range. He could post. He could make free throws. … He was just immortal offensively because of his skill set and his work ethic.”

Bryant was a basketball superstar for his entire adult life. He entered the NBA draft straight out of high school in 1996 after a childhood spent partly in Italy, where his father, former NBA player Joe ”Jellybean” Bryant, played professionally.

The Lakers acquired the 17-year-old Bryant in a trade shortly after Charlotte drafted him, and he immediately became one of the most exciting and intriguing players in the sport alongside O’Neal, who had signed with the Lakers as a free agent. Bryant won the Slam Dunk Contest as an upstart rookie, and the Lakers gradually grew into a team that won three consecutive championships.

Bryant and Gasol formed the nucleus of another championship team in 2008, reaching three straight NBA Finals and eventually winning two more titles.

It’s being reported that his 13-year old daughter Gianna Bryant was also onboard. Allegedly, they were headed to a girls’ basketball tournament at Mamba Academy where she was playing and he was coaching.

Contributors: AP and Sytonnia Moore

 

Mamba! Lakers Retire Both Of Kobe’s Jerseys

(SL) – The jersey numbers of Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant now hang in the rafters of Staples Center. Bryant was on hand last night for a halftime ceremony where his numbers 8 and 24 were retired by the Lakers.
He told the crowd he loved them before discussing the current Lakers squad, urging them to bring the team back into the championship picture. Bryant becomes the first player in NBA history to have two numbers retired by the same team.
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He played his entire 20-year career with the Lakers, helping them win five titles during that time.
Bryant becomes the first player in NBA history to have two numbers retired by the same team.  He played his entire 20-year career with the Lakers, helping them win five titles during that time.
The ceremony comes 20 months after his 20-year run came to an end with Bryant as the third-leading scorer of all-time and a five-time champion, By his side, his 1-year-old daughter, Bianka, his wife, Vanessa, and older daughters, 14-year-old Natalia and 11-year-old Gianna.
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Kobe is the first player to have two numbers retired. As for which one he prefers the legend says, ““I kind of go back and forth,” Bryant said. “(No.) 8 has something that 24 will never, ever, ever, ever have, and that’s the ability to grow hair. So it’s tough …”
He wore No. 8 during the first 10 year that saw three championships and a Colorado scandal. The No. 24 era endured an unfulfilled trade demand in 2007 and winning two more rings without the big man Shaquille O’Neal at his side (2009 and 2010) and a plethora of injuries. Two numbers, Two eras…One legendary Bamba!