Vanessa Bryant, Beyonce,Michael Jordan and more honour Kobe and daughter Gianna in emotional tribute
A public memorial for basketball legend Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna took place on Monday at Staples Center.
The celebration brought together celebrities, athletes and fans to remember their lives nearly one month after they were killed along with seven others in a helicopter crash near Calabasas, California.
Vanessa Bryant, spoke publicly for the first time since the crash, celebrating the quirks of her husband and daughter.
“God knew they couldn’t be on this earth without each other,” she said.
She described Kobe as “the perfect husband”. She also paid tribute to Gianna saying her smile was like sunshine.
“Her smile took up her entire face. Like me. Kobe always said she was like me. She had my fire, my personality and sarcasm. She was tender and loving on the inside. She had the best laugh. It was infectious. It was pure and genuine,” she said.
"Kobe was the MVP of girl dads," said Vanessa.
"He was the most amazing husband - Kobe loved me more than I could ever express or put into words."
"Babe, you take care of our Gigi," she said, addressing Bryant.
"We're still the best team - may you both rest in peace and have fun in heaven until we meet again one day."
The two-hour memorial included performances from Beyoncé.
She opened the event by singing XO, during which she said "I'm here because I love Kobe and this was one of his favourite songs", before also performing Halo.
Other performers included Alicia Keys. There were lighthearted and beautiful moments from Michael Jordan and Shaquille O’Neal. Jordan delivered the one-liner of the day, saying: “I’m going to have to look at another crying meme.”
Meanwhile, Kobe’s final memory will be honoured, as Alexis Altobelli, who lost her parents and sister in the crash,will get an internship at a top sports agency.
Superagent Scott Boras is scheduled to meet with the 16-year-old Friday, he said.
"We are going to create a community for her. We are going to take her to games, show her how our company, with 135 employees and all of its departments, works," he said.
It has been reported that Vanessa is suing the owner of the helicopter that crashed in fog last month.
The wrongful death lawsuit filed by Mrs Bryant in Los Angeles on Monday said the pilot, Ara Zobayan, was careless and negligent by flying in cloudy conditions and should have aborted the flight. Zobayan was among the nine people killed in the crash.
The lawsuit names Island Express Helicopters Inc and also targets Zobayan’s legal representative, listed only as “Doe 1” until a name can be determined.
Her lawsuit maintains that Zobayan was negligent in eight different ways, including failing to properly assess the weather, flying into conditions he wasn’t cleared for and failing to control the helicopter.
In his last transmission, Zobayan told air traffic control that he was climbing to 4,000 feet to get above the clouds. He was 100 feet short of breaking through the cloud cover when the helicopter banked left and plunged into a hillside, according to the National Transportation Safety Board.
Island Express is yet to comment on the lawsuit.