*“God knew they couldn’t be on this earth without each other. He had to bring them home to heaven together,” Vanessa Bryant said of Kobe and their daughter Gianna during her 20-minute eulogy at the emotional memorial in Los Angeles on Monday.
The grieving widow and mother added, “They were so easy to love. Everyone naturally gravitated towards them. They were so full of joy and adventure.”
The emotional tribute followed Beyoncé’s performance her songs “XO” and “Halo.”
“I’m here because I love Kobe and this was one of his favorite songs,” Bey said, watch her performance via the clip above, and check out the videos below of additional highlights from the memorial.
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Vanessa called Bryant the “most amazing husband” and “truly the romantic one in our relationship.”
“We had hoped to grow old together like the movie. We really had an amazing love story. We loved each other with our whole beings. Two perfectly imperfect people making a beautiful family and raising our sweet and amazing girls,” she said, PEOPLE reports. .
“I have no idea how I deserved a man who loved or wanted me more than Kobe.”
She described Gianna as an “amazing sweet and gentle soul” whose “smile took up her entire face.”
“She was daddy’s girl, but I know she loved her mama,” Vanessa said. “She was one of my very best friends.”
Vanessa also noted Kobe’s love of fatherhood, saying, “Kobe was the MVP of girl dads, or MVD. He never left the toilet seat up. He always told the girls how beautiful and smart they are. He taught them how to be brave.”
She added, “But I want my daughters to know the amazing person, husband and father he was,” said Vanessa. “The kind of man who wanted to teach the future generations to be better … he taught us all valuable lessons about life and sports … we’re so thankful he left those lessons and stories behind for us.”
Thousands of fans attended the sold-out public memorial, including celebrities and NBA legends Michael Jordan and Shaquille O’Neal.
“What he accomplished as a basketball player, as a businessman, and a storyteller, and as a father… Kobe left nothing in the tank. He left it all on the floor,” Jordan recalled. “This kid had passion like you would never know.”
Adding “What Kobe Bryant was to me, was the inspiration that someone truly cared about the way that I played the game or the way he wanted to play the game. And as I got to know him, I wanted to be the best big brother that I could be.”
“When Kobe Bryant died, a piece of me died,” Jordan concluded. “I promise you, from this day forward, I will live with the memories of knowing I had a little brother who I tried to help in any way I could. Please rest in peace, little brother.”
“Maybe it’s a surprise to people that Kobe and I were very close friends…When Kobe Bryant died a piece of me died.” Michael Jordan opens up about his special relationship with Kobe. pic.twitter.com/wAUAsbByWK
— Spectrum SportsNet (@SpectrumSN) February 24, 2020
O’Neal said onstage “Kobe was truly a gifted and intelligent student of the game. I remember him saying, ‘These guys are playing checkers and I’m out here playing chess.’ I said, ‘I guess so, Kobe. I don’t know how to play chess.'”
He also recalled the time teammates asked him to confront Kobe about not passing.
“I said, there’s no I in team, and he said, ‘Yeah, but there’s a M-E in that mothef**ker.” Promising to teach Kobe’s daughters all of his moves — “but not my free-throw techniques” — he ended, “Kobe, you’re heaven’s MVP.”
As a highlight reel of Gigi played, Shaq hugged Kobe Bryant’s father.
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Some of the celebs in attendance at the Staples Center to celebrate Kobe’s life included: Kim and Khloe Kardashian, Kanye West, Kris Jenner, Gabrielle Union, Dwyane Wade, Ciara, Russell Wilson, Magic Johnson, Jennifer Lopez and Alex Rodriguez.
Proceeds from ticket sales to the memorial will be donated to the Mamba and Mambacita Sports Foundation.
Meanwhile, Vanessa has filed a lawsuit against the helicopter company Monday, alleging it negligently allowed the pilot to fly despite foggy weather conditions.