The celebration of life for Kobe and Gianna Bryant was on Monday, and all of the friends, teammates, and family members in attendance were overcome with emotion during the beautiful ceremony.
Among those were Bryant’s parents, Joe and Pam, who didn’t speak during the event but were seated by the stage and next to Kobe’s wife, Vanessa.
After the ceremony, Extra revisited an interview it did with Lakers legend and current team executive Jerry West in the days after the helicopter crash.
“His personal family, is just traumatized and devastated, as any family would be,” West said. “My thoughts, my prayers, my hopes are with his family because they’re the ones who need it most.”
ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith also shared this thoughts on Kobe’s parents after the celebration.
“It is important to remember that he had a mother and a father and two sisters who lost their son and their brother.”
He added, “No matter what went on, whatever tension existed, whatever the case may be, look at Joe Bryant’s face when the cameras were on him yesterday. Look at the pain in that man’s eyes… his son is gone.”
Among those who did speak at the event was Vanessa. She shared remembrances of her daughter and husband.
“Gianna Bryant is an amazingly sweet and gentle soul,” Vanessa said. “She was always thoughtful. She always kissed me goodnight and kissed me good morning. There were a few occasions where I was absolutely tired from being up with Bianka and Capri and I thought she had left for school without saying goodbye. I text and say ‘No kiss?’ and Gianna would reply with, ‘Mama, I kissed you but you were asleep and I didn’t want to wake you.’
“She knew how much her morning and evening kisses meant to me. She was so thoughtful to remember to kiss me every day,” she continued. “She was Daddy’s girl but I know she loved her mama. She would always tell me and show me how much she loved me. She was one of my very best friends. She loved faith, she loved putting a smile on everyone’s faces.”
Vanessa also talked about Gianna’s aspirations to follow in Kobe’s footsteps and become a great pro basketball player.
“Gigi likely would have become the best player in the WNBA,” Vanessa added. “She would have made a huge difference in women’s basketball.
“I cannot imagine life without her. Mommy, Natalia, Bianka, Capri and Daddy love you so much, Gigi. I will miss your sweet handmade cards, your sweet kisses and your gorgeous smile. I miss you, all of you, every day. I love you.”
Vanessa then talked about her husband.
“I couldn’t see him as a celebrity, nor just an incredible basketball player,” she said. “He was my sweet husband and the beautiful father of our children. He was my — he was my everything.”