(AP) – The 10-part documentary series that chronicles Michael Jordan’s last championship with the Bulls is set to begin on ESPN with two hour-long episodes. ”
(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.
(AP) – Star Wars filmmaker George Lucas is the wealthiest celebrity in America this year. He tops Forbes’ 2018 list with a net worth of five-point-four billion dollars. Filmmaker Steven Spielberg comes in second with three-point-seven billion, followed by television producer and former talk show host Oprah Winfrey with two-point-eight billion.
Former NBA player Michael Jordan is fourth with one-point-seven billion, and reality TV star Kylie Jenner and rapper Jay-Z are tied for fifth with 900 million each. The rest of the list includes magician David Copperfield, rapper Diddy, professional golfer Tiger Woods and author James Patterson.
Jordan told the observer, “Wilmington truly is my home. Kept thinking about all those places I grew up going to,” Jordan said. “And the deaths – it was so sad about the babies (that died, including one in Gaston County). You don’t want to see any of that anywhere, but when it’s home, that’s tough to swallow. People need to understand this will not be a week-long process. This is going to have a huge disruption on people’s lives – not for 10 days, but for years. I hope people understand the importance of this and direct their attention to making things better. It’s going to take a lot of performance all over the Carolinas.”
(SL) – Donald Trump’s latest target on Twitter is LeBron James. After the basketball superstar’s recent interview with CNN anchor Don Lemon,Trump tweeted late Friday night that James was interviewed ”by the dumbest man on television,” but that he ”made Lebron look smart,which isn’t easy to do.” The president also tweeted “I like Mike!” – suggesting that he sides with Michael Jordan in the argument over whether he or James is the greatest NBA player ever.
Among the athletes who have jumped to defend James is Jordan himself, telling The Associated Press ”I support LeBron James.He’s doing an amazing job for his community.” LeBron also received support from an unlikely defender…Trump’s wife Melania. She praised LeBron for what he’s doing and even offered to visit his new ‘I Promise’ school. Some of Trump’s supporters even lashed out at 45 saying this was a new low. Trump stayed away from the subject while he was campaigning in Ohio.