Michael Jordan Tearfully Pays Tribute to ‘Little Brother’ Kobe Bryant at His Memorial Service

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The world is still coming to terms with the tragic loss of Kobe Bryant following the devastating helicopter crash last month that claimed the lives of 8 others, including his thirteen-year-old daughter Gianna.

Tonight, thousands of people have flocked to the Staples Center to pay tribute to Kobe and Gigi, as well as the other victims of the tragic accident.

During the memorial, Michael Jordan paid a tearful tribute to “little brother”, Kobe.

Scroll on for the emotional clip.

 

After he left high school, he entered the NBA directly and went onto win 5 championships.

Kobe Bryant made history on many occasions. His twenty-year career in the NBA saw him become the all-time leading scorer in Lakers history in 2010. At thirty-four years old, he also became the youngest player in league history to reach 30,000 career points. What an achievement.

After a string of injuries began taking their toll on his body, he decided it would be best to leave the game, though that didn’t stop him from coaching and doing extra work on the side in order to aid the NBA.

Who could ever forget that final game? The Lakers versus Utah Jazz. The latter team didn’t stand a chance after seeing Kobe score sixty points in the game, which became a career highlight for the basketballer.

Kobe Bryant was tragically killed in a helicopter crash on Jan 26. The NBA star’s private helicopter crashed in Calabasas at around 9:45 am local time, TMZ sports confirms.

But tragically, his private helicopter went down and a “fire broke out,” TMZ reports.

And there were 9 bodies found at the scene.

TMZ Sports reports that Gianna, aged thirteen, tragically died in the crash. It is thought that the father and daughter were on their way to the Mamba Academy for basketball practice, nearby Thousand Oaks.

Kobe leaves behind his wife and their daughters – Natalia and Bianka, and their newborn, Capri.

The clip, uploaded to Twitter, showed smoke emerging from the crash site as emergency services respond to the devastating incident.

All 9 of the passengers on board were confirmed to have died in the tragic crash.

Kobe really touched the hearts of so many people, so tributes for the star have been pouring in.

The two had a strong friendship as Kobe was an active Obama supporter and they both shared similar views on social issues.

Melania also sent her condolences.

She wrote: “RIP Kobe, hero to many including my grandson, extraordinary athlete and always kind to me & my family. My deepest condolences to his family.”

He said he only “just [seen] him.” It really just proves how short life is.

The news was beyond heartbreaking.

She also posted 2 photos to Instagram upon hearing the news about his daughter too.

Kobe’s family has just been hit with the worst news they could possibly have. No goodbyes. No final words. Devastating.

As a mother and a wife, this is the most painful news to have received.

Megan Rapinoe, a professional soccer player for the United States team tweeted about him.

He attached a photograph of him and Kobe right before one of his races.

He and LeBron James were two legends in the sport. And they helped build each other, celebrate their successes and support one another through difficult times.

LeBron James recently passed Kobe Bryant’s career point marker and as a way to congratulate him, he dedicated a heartwarming post to the star player.

A video of the basketballer breaking down in tears surfaced and broke everyone’s hearts. It is a devastating sight to see.

He took to Instagram to pay tribute to the basketball legend, whom he describes as his “brother.” “I’m Not Ready but here I go. Man I sitting here trying to write something for this post but every time I try I begin crying again just thinking about you, niece Gigi and the friendship/bond/brotherhood we had,” he began the post. 

“Didn’t think for one bit in a million years that would be the last conversation we’d have. WTF!! I’m heartbroken and devastated my brother!! “Man I love you big bro,” he continued.

“My heart goes to Vanessa and the kids. I promise you I’ll continue your legacy man! You mean so much to us all here especially #LakerNation and it’s my responsibility to put this shit on my back and keep it going!” “Please give me the strength from the heavens above and watch over me! I got US here!”

“There’s so much more I want to say but just can’t right now because I can’t get through it! Until we meet again my brother!!” There’s no denying how devastated LeBron is by this tragic news.

She penned a heart-wrenching Instagram post on Monday.

“My brain refuses to accept that both Kobe and Gigi are gone.  I can’t process both at the same time. It’s like I’m trying to process Kobe being gone but my body refuses to accept my Gigi will never come back to me,” she wrote.

“Why should I be able to wake up another day when my baby girl isn’t being able to have that opportunity?! I’m so mad. She had so much life to live.” “Then I realize I need to be strong and be here for my 3 daughters. Mad I’m not with Kobe and Gigi but thankful I’m here with Natalia, Bianka and Capri.”

“I know what I’m feeling is normal. It’s part of the grieving process. I just wanted to share in case there’s anyone out there that’s experienced a loss like this.”

“Praying for all of the victims of this horrible tragedy. Please continue to pray for all.”

Their private funeral was held on February 7th at the Pacific View Memorial Park in Corona Del Mar, California.

“Vanessa and the family wanted a private service to mourn their loss,” a source told ET. “The ceremony was extremely hard for everyone as it’s still hard for them to grasp they lost two beautiful souls.”

The service has been held tonight at the Staples Center in Los Angeles where the star played basketball for the Lakers throughout his entire 2-decade career.

They chose the 24th as it was the number Kobe sported since the 2006-07 season. But that’s not the only significance.

And 20 is the number of years Kobe and Vanessa were together for as well as the number of years he played as a Laker.

Vanessa, understandably, is still in mourning for her late husband and daughter, and last night she paid tribute to Kobe on Valentine’s Day.

On his favorite holiday of the entire year, Vanessa called Kobe her forever Valentine.

“To my forever Valentine, I love you so much. Missing you so much on your favorite holiday. I love you forever. Kisses to you and Gigi in heaven. Happy Valentine’s Day, my babies. With all my love, your boo-boo.”

Posting a romantic picture of herself and Kobe, she accompanied the pic with the song “Tell Him” by Ms. Lauryn Hill.

With millions of people around the world watching the memorial at The Staples Center, gathering outside the venue, or via live streams.

And Michael Jordan was also amongst those paying tribute at the memorial tonight.

“Kobe was my dear friend, he was like a little brother,” he said. “Everyone always wanted to talk about the comparisons between he and I. I just wanted to talk about Kobe.”

“All of us have brothers and sisters, little brothers, little sisters who for whatever reason tend to get in your stuff. Your closet, your shoes. Everything. He was a nuisance, if I could say that word,” Jordan said. “But that nuisance turned into love over a period of time. Just because of the admiration that they have for you. The questions, wanting to know every little detail.”

“I am inspired by what he’s done and what he’s shared with Vanessa and his kids. “When Kobe Bryant died a piece of me died.”

R.I.P Kobe and Gianna.