LeBron James was perhaps not among the many famous faces cameras scanned throughout the Staples Center during Kobe and Gianna Bryant’s public memorial service on Monday in Los Angeles.
The “Celebration of Life” was attended by the biggest names in sports and entertainment, including Stephen Curry, James Harden and even Russell Westbrook. Beyoncé, Christina Aguilera and Alicia Keys gave gut-wrenching tributes, while NBA legends Michael Jordan and Shaquille O’Neal shared personal memories from the podium.
Still, James absence from any of the clips at the touching memorial service led a reporter to ask whether or not he actually attended the service.
In a video on ESPN, the NBA star, who once played with Bryant during the Olympics, described himself as “emotionally a wreck,” and said that “it’s just been hard to kind of talk about it.”
“I respect your question, for sure,” he added during the Lakers’ shoot-around prior to their game with the New Orleans Pelicans on Tuesday. “It was [a] very emotional, very emotional day, very tough day for myself, for my family, for everyone involved.”
James went on to express his admiration for Bryant’s widow, who was able to speak about the lives of her late husband and daughter in front of the world.
“The one thing I can come out of this saying is how strong and how bold and how powerful Vanessa [Bryant] is to stand up there the way she did, to give the speech the way she gave that speech. I commend her. My heart is with her family still, with his three daughters that’s still here, with his wife, with his mom and dad, his sister,” James added, noting he’d like to “move on tonight.”
When a reporter asked if he thought the Los Angels Lakers would ever manage to return to life before the January 26 helicopter tragedy that took the lives of the NBA star and his 13-year-old daughter along with seven others, James claimed that it was impossible.
“It’s never a closure. It’s never going to be a closure,” he said. “I mean, we continue to live on his legacy and continue to have our hearts heavy with both sadness and with happiness for his family that are still here. So, it’s not a closure. But it was a celebration, which was well received from not only the Laker faithful, not only the family here, but everybody around the world.”
Well said, ‘Bron.