Celtics

Celtics among those to attend memorial for Kobe and Gianna Bryant

Jaylen Brown, Carsen Edwards, Marcus Smart, Jayson Tatum, and Daniel Theis all shared photos of their tickets or programs from the ceremony.

Bill Russell is among the attendees at the Celebration of Life for Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna. AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez

A number of Celtics attended the memorial service for the late Kobe and Gianna Bryant Monday afternoon at the Staples Center. 

Jaylen Brown, Carsen Edwards, Marcus Smart, Jayson Tatum, and Daniel Theis all shared photos of their tickets or programs from the ceremony. Kemba Walker, Brad Wanamaker, and Grant Williams, too, were spotted in the star-studded crowd that gathered to celebrate the lives of Kobe and Gianna, who, along with seven others, died in a helicopter crash on Jan. 26 in California. 

“Still can’t believe this is real,” Smart wrote on Instagram. “Gone but never forgotten and always living on with us!”

After facing the Lakers Sunday afternoon, the Celtics were originally scheduled to depart Los Angeles around noon but pushed back their flight so that players and staff would be able to attend the service. Celtics legend Bill Russell, who wore Bryant’s No. 24 jersey to Sunday’s game, was also in attendance, as was fellow retired Celtic Paul Pierce.

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Talk show host Jimmy Kimmel hosted the proceedings, which lasted about two and a half hours. Beyoncé opened with moving renditions of her hits “XO” and “Halo,” Alicia Keys performed the first movement Beethoven’s “Moonlight Sonata” on the piano, and Christina Aguilera sang Franz Schubert’s “Ave Maria.”

Bryant’s widow Vanessa, Phoenix Mercury guard Diana Taurasi, Oregon point guard Sabrina Ionescu, UConn women’s basketball coach Geno Auriemma, Lakers general manager and vice president of basketball operations Rob Pelinka, Charlotte Hornets owner Michael Jordan, and former Lakers center Shaquille O’Neal all spoke. 

“When Kobe Bryant died, a piece of me died,” a tearful Jordan said during his touching remarks. “And when I look around the room and the world, a piece of you died. Why else would you be here?”

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Several current and former Lakers were in the audience, including Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Anthony Davis, Derek Fisher, Rick Fox, Pau Gasol, Dwight Howard, Phil Jackson, Magic Johnson, Kyle Kuzma, JaVale McGee, Rajon Rondo, Sasha Vujačić, and Jerry West. Among the other current NBA players present were Devin Booker, Steph Curry, DeMar DeRozan, Draymond Green, James Harden, Kyrie Irving, Klay Thompson, and Russell Westbrook. Among the retirees were Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili, Jason Kidd, Steve Nash, Tony Parker, and Dwyane Wade.

Other guests included rapper Snoop Dogg, rapper LL Cool J, Kris Jenner, Kim Kardashian, Khloe Kardashian, singer-actress Queen Latifah, singer-actress Jennifer Lopez, former Olympian Michael Phelps, San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich, retired New York Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez, NBA commissioner Adam Silver, actress Gabrielle Union, and rapper Kanye West.

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