Kobe and Gianna Bryant’s memorial service, dubbed a Celebration of Life, began with a superstar tribute by Bryant’s friend, Beyoncé.
Beyoncé, wearing gold in honor of Bryant’s team the Los Angeles Lakers, sang a stirring tribute to the late NBA star and his 13-year-old daughter, who both perished along with seven others in a fatal helicopter crash in Calabasas, California last month.
“I’m here because I love Kobe and this was one of his favorite songs,” she told the crowd inside the Staples Center before singing two of her hits, “XO” and “Halo.” In fact, “XO” was featured in Bryant’s 2015 Showtime documentary, Kobe Bryant’s Muse.
Beyoncé was surrounded by an all-white choir along with violinists and a live band.
The late NBA star along with his widow Vanessa Bryant were such good friends with the singer that they spent the New Year with Bey and her husband Jay-Z.
The public memorial service held Monday in the Staples Center in Los Angeles, where Bryant spent 20 years playing on the court as a Los Angeles Laker. Authorities expected 20,000 fans to attend.
Michael Jordan, Shaquille O’Neal and late night talk show host Jimmy Kimmel were among those who honored Bryant at the podium. Alicia Keys also performed.
Other celebrities spotted in the stadium, included Bryant’s former teammate Shaquille O’Neal, Alex Rodriguez, Jennifer Lopez, Kanye West, Kim Kardashian West and many others.
Beyoncé had previously honored Bryant on her Instagram page, writing: “I will continue to diligently pray for your Queens. You are deeply missed beloved Kobe.”
Bryant died January 26 in a fatal helicopter crash in Calabasas, California. He was 41.