Jimmy Kimmel Shares the 'Saddest Part' of Hosting Kobe Bryant's Memorial

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Kobe Bryant Memorial: Host Jimmy Kimmel's Emotional Opening Remarks
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Jimmy Kimmel is reflecting on hosting the late Kobe Bryant's televised memorial service at the Staples Center in Los Angeles in February.

The 52-year-old late-night host was a friend of the basketball legend, and himself shed tears during the emotional gathering, which was attended by Bryant's wife, Vanessa, as well as NBA greats Michael Jordan, Shaquille O'Neal and more. Kimmel recently appeared on Watch What Happens Live With Andy Cohen and was asked how intense the experience of hosting the service was. Kimmel said he was very nervous going into it and actually didn't initially know it was going to be a televised event.

"I thought it was a somewhat intimate family and fans thing," he said.

Kimmel said the saddest part of the memorial was seeing Bryant's family in the front row. Bryant's parents, Joe and Pam Bryant, were seated on the opposite side in the same row as Vanessa. Vanessa also sat by her eldest daughter, 17-year-old Natalia, as well as her sister, Sophie Laine, and her mother, Sofia.

"That's a killer, you know, to look out at those kids and Vanessa and you know, Kobe's parents, and just realize that as sad as this is for all of us, this is a million times worse for them," he shared.

Kimmel was overcome with emotion during the service while giving his opening remarks.

"This is a sad day but it is also a celebration of life, of their lives and of life itself in the building where those of us are Lakers fans and Kobe fans celebrated some of the best times of our lives," Kimmel said at the time. "I don't think any of us could have imagined this. Everywhere you go, you see his face, his number, Gigi's face, Gigi's number, everywhere at every intersection."

"Today we are joined by Kobe’s teammates and opponents alike, his friends and family and his fans, as we try to make sense of what has happened to these nine beautiful people, who were by all accounts so full of life -- who left behind parents, friends, coworkers, classmates, siblings and children," he added. "I’ve been trying to come up with something positive to take away from this and it’s hard because there isn’t much, but the best thing I was able to come up with is this: gratitude. It seems to me that all we can do is be grateful for the time that we had with them and for the time that we have left with each other and that's all."

For more on Bryant's memorial, including Vanessa's heartbreaking speech honoring both her late husband and their 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, watch the video below:

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