Kobe and Gianna Bryant's Public Memorial: Vanessa Bryant, Michael Jordan and Others Pay Tribute

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The public memorial for Kobe Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna "Gigi" Bryant, was an emotional event. The "Celebration of Life for Kobe and Gianna Bryant" service took place at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, where Kobe played the majority of his 20-year professional basketball career.

The legendary NBA star is survived by his wife, Vanessa Bryant, and the three other children they shared: Natalia, 17, Bianka, 3, and Capri, 7 months. At the public memorial service, Vanessa spoke for the first time since the tragedy. "God knew they couldn't be on this earth without each other," she said of her late husband and daughter.  

Michael Jordan remembered his beloved opponent fondly. "He wanted to be the best basketball player that he could be. And as I got to know him, I wanted to be the best big brother that I could be." 

Prior to the public ceremony, ET confirmed that a private funeral for Kobe and Gianna was held at Pacific View Memorial Park in Corona Del Mar, California, on Friday, Feb. 7. The service took place two weeks after they died in a helicopter crash alongside seven others -- Alyssa Altobelli, John Altobelli, Keri Altobelli, Payton Chester, Sarah Chester, Christina Mauser and pilot Ara Zobayan.

"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."

When and where was the memorial: The celebration began at 10 a.m. PT/1 p.m. ET on Monday, Feb. 24 inside the Staples Center, home of the Lakers. 

Staples Center President Lee Zeidman says there are 35,000 red roses surrounding the stage for the service. Those attending will receive a T-shirt that features images of Kobe and Gianna as well as a program.

A day prior to the service, the Los Angeles Kings wore memorial jerseys for Kobe and Gianna during warm-ups before they played the Edmonton Oilers at Staples Center.

Significance of the date: Ahead of the event, Vanessa took to Instagram to explain what 02/24/20 means to her and her family. No. 2 is Gianna’s jersey number, which retired by her school earlier this month during a ceremony at Harbor Day School in Corona del Mar, California. No. 24 is Kobe’s jersey from the 2006-2007 season until his retirement. And No. 20 is the number years of Kobe's career as Laker and the amount of years he and Vanessa were together.

Who attended: In addition to Vanessa and her three other daughters with Kobe, invited guests included family and friends of the Bryants, along with players from the Lakers and NBA officials. 

Ahead of the memorial service, Dwyane Wade posted a photo of Kobe and Gianna from their time on the court. 

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2♾24

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The Celebration of Life service will also include speakers and performers. Among those speaking were Oregon Ducks player Sabrina Ionescu, who paid tribute to her mentor and his daughter. “Monday’s going to be a difficult day for her to speak at the memorial for Kobe and Gianna, but what a great opportunity and a great privilege and a great honor,” her coach, Kelly Graves said ahead of the memorial.

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I miss you guys more than I could ever put into words 💔 Kobe, thank you for being a source of light in the midst of darkness.You were and always will be my sanctuary. You brought me the peace and guidance that I had been searching, and praying so long for. You were my mentor, idol, inspiration, and close friend. A part of me was lost Sunday, a void that can never be filled, because you are one of one. You took me under your wing and believed in me more than I believed in myself. I only have one choice. To live out your legacy. 🐍 You will forever live through me, and be watching over me every step of the way, because you have the best seat in the house. I can still hear you telling me, “Sab, real sharpness comes without effort,” and that’s a voice I will never forget. Love you boss. Always. Gigi, Alyssa and Pay Pay- Never stop shining your light! I was blessed to have been apart of your lives and to inspire you, but now you inspire me. Keep working on those fade away jumpers up in heaven. RIP little mambas❤️🐍 I pray for everyone who lost a loved one on Sunday, may God heal your broken hearts🙏🏼 Legends never die! #mambamentality🐍

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How to watch: ET's live coverage began at 8 a.m. PT, with Kevin Frazier and Nischelle Turner live from the arena. Beginning at 10 a.m. PT, ET streamed the entire memorial, uninterrupted. (More information on ET's coverage can be found here.)

Tickets for the event: A limited number of tickets will also be available to the general public via Ticketmaster Verified Fan, with all proceeds going to the Mamba & Mambacita Sports Foundation. The Lakers announced that fans may register to purchase tickets here starting on Friday and running through Monday, Feb. 17 at 10 p.m. PT. Registered fans will receive an email (or a text message) on Tuesday, Feb. 18, along with a personal access code. In the case that the demand for tickets exceeds supply, fans will be selected at random to participate in the public sale.

Tickets were released for public sale on Wednesday, Feb. 19 at 10 a.m. PT. Fans with personal access codes were given access to purchase available tickets at three different price points depending on seating location -- $224 each, 2 tickets for $224 and $24.02 each. 

The Lakers noted that members of the public without tickets to the Celebration of Life were strongly advised by Staples Center and law enforcement not to go downtown near the venue (or the surrounding L.A. Live area), as fans without tickets were not able to access the Staples Center, L.A. Live or adjacent streets. 

Hear more on the life and legacy of Kobe in the video below.

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