In an emotional tribute, Vanessa Bryant remembered her late husband, Kobe Bryant, whom she called her “soulmate” during a public memorial held inside the Staples Center, where the former NBA player spent 20 years playing on the court as a Los Angeles Laker.
Mrs. Bryant detailed all the ways that Kobe was a thoughtful and engaged husband and father to their four girls, including their late daughter, 13-year-old Gianna, who died in a helicopter crash last month.
“He just thought outside the box and was so thoughtful even while working hard to become the best athlete,” Mrs. Bryant detailed, before giving an example of one of his thoughtful gifts, which was the actual blue dress that actress Rachel McAdams wore in the romantic film, The Notebook.
“Kobe wanted us to renew our vows,” she revealed, before talking about him as a dad. “He always told the girls how beautiful and smart they are. He taught them how to be brave.”
Ending her speech, Mrs. Bryant, now 37, had a message directly for her husband, whom she met when she was 17 years old.
“Babe, you take care of our Gigi…we’re still the best team,” she said through tears. “We love and miss you boo boo and Gigi. May you both rest in peace and have fun in heaven until we meet again one day. We love you both and miss you forever and always, mommy.”
Michael Jordan, Shaquille O’Neal and late night talk show host Jimmy Kimmel were among those who honored Bryant at the podium. Beyoncé, Alicia Keys and Christina Aguilera also performed.
Other celebrities spotted in the stadium, included Alex Rodriguez, Jennifer Lopez, Kanye West, Kim Kardashian West and many others.