Kobe Bryant Memorial Opens With Emotional Video of the NBA Star in His Own Words

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The "Celebration of Life for Kobe and Gianna Bryant" service has begun.

Taking place inside Los Angeles' Staples Center -- famously known as "the house that Kobe built" during his 20-year career with the Lakers -- the public memorial began with a video of the late NBA star speaking in his own words. Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, died in a helicopter crash last month alongside seven others -- Alyssa Altobelli, John Altobelli, Keri Altobelli, Payton Chester, Sarah Chester, Christina Mauser and pilot Ara Zobayan.

Bryant is survived by his wife, Vanessa, and the three other children they shared (Natalia, 17, Bianka, 3 and Capri, 8 months). The video montage played shortly after Beyonce performed "XO" and "Halo."

As ET previously reported, Bryant and his daughter, Gianna, were laid to rest in a private funeral held at Pacific View Memorial Park in Corona Del Mar, California, on Feb. 7. The funeral took place two weeks after the tragic crash.

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

After retiring from the NBA in 2016, Bryant started coaching daughter Gianna (aka Gigi's) middle school basketball team. He spoke about his family (and coaching) in his final interview with ET in 2019, along with Gianna's dreams of one day making it to the WNBA.

"We're just really blessed ... just very, very fortunate," he said at the time. "[Gigi's] a stone-cold killer out there at both ends of the floor. She plays defense as well as offense. Man, she competes."

"What I try to teach the girls is that it's a process," he added. "You have to work every day. It's just chipping away at things. You just get better and better. I make it fun!"

For all the updates on Monday's public memorial, follow along with ET's Live Blog here, and watch the video below for more on Bryant.


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