Beyoncé, 38, not only lent her voice to Kobe Bryant and Gianna’s public memorial on Feb. 24, but a comforting hand as well. While it was Michael Jordan’s turn to take the stage and honor his fellow NBA legend inside the Staples Center, Kobe’s wife Vanessa Bryant, 37, was especially moved by his words. She started to tear up, at which point Beyoncé reached out to touch Vanessa’s arm and give solace to the grieving wife and mother. The touching moment was captured by the livestream at the event, provided by Kobe’s former team, the Los Angeles Lakers — you can see photos below.
Michael also shed tears while delivering his own speech. “When Kobe Bryant died, a piece of me died,” the Chicago Bulls champ sadly told the crowd gathered inside the Los Angeles stadium, where Kobe made history in the NBA. He added, “And as I look in this arena and across the globe, a piece of you died or else you wouldn’t be here. Those are the memories that we have to live with and we learn from.”
Like Beyoncé, Michael also offered a supportive hand following Vanessa’s tribute to her late 13-year-old daughter, Gianna “Gigi” Bryant, and her husband of 19 years. Michael helped Vanessa off the stage, who was emotional after telling the fans packed into the arena about her “amazingly sweet” daughter and her “most amazing husband.” The service was also Vanessa’s first public appearance since Kobe and Gigi lost their lives along with seven others in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, CA on Jan. 26. Kobe was only 41 years old.
Before Vanessa and Michael’s speeches at Kobe and Gianna’s Celebration Of Life, Beyoncé opened the service with “one of [Kobe’s] favorite songs,” her 2013 ballad “XO.” She then moved on to a memorable performance of “Halo.” In addition to supporting Vanessa and her surviving daughters Natalia, 17, Bianka, 3, and Capri, 8 mos., Beyoncé said, “I’m here because I love Kobe.” That love for the LA Lakers champion, husband and father could be felt in the photos above.