Kobe Bryant‘s estranged parents, Pamela and Joe Bryant, were seen paying tribute to their late son and granddaughter, Gianna Bryant, during their beautiful memorial at the Staples Center. Though Kobe hadn’t spoken to his parents in several years, Vanessa welcomed them to the celebration of life with open arms to mourn as a family. Joe and Pam were seen at the beginning of the memorial holding each other tightly, clad in all-black clothing, as Beyonce opened the show with two gorgeous performances of “XO” and “Halo”. The grieving parents were supported by Kobe’s friends at the event. Lakers legend Magic Johnson was seen crying as he gave Pam a gigantic hug. Another Lakers alum, Derek Fisher, was seen warmly greeting Joe as the arrived at the Staples Center, sitting right by a stage covered in stunning flowers.
Pam and Joe haven’t spoken publicly about the loss of Kobe and 13-year-old Gigi, who both died when their helicopter crashed into a hillside in Los Angeles on January 26. They were heading to one of her basketball games at the Mamba Academy. The official cause of the crash has yet to be determined, but it’s suspected that weather played a part in the accident. Seven others died in the tragic crash that day: Gianna’s teammates, Alyssa Altobelli and Payton Chester, along with their family members, John Altobelli, Keri Altobelli and Sarah Chester, as well as coach Christina Mauser, and the pilot, Ara Zobayan.
Kobe’s relationship with his parents became strained in 2013 after Pam attempted to auction off some memorabilia from his early career for $500,000, according to ESPN. Kobe got a court order to stop the auction, and his parents publicly apologized in a statement: “We apologize for any misunderstanding and unintended pain we have caused our son and appreciate the financial support he has provided over the years.” But the damage was already done, and Kobe told the outlet in 2016 that he hadn’t spoken to either of his parents since the incident.
Beyonce’s performance at the top of the celebration was breathtaking. She spoke about how much she loved Kobe and Gigi, and chose to sing “XO” because it was one of his favorite songs. She was followed by Jimmy Kimmel, who gave a heartbreaking speech about the loss of his friends, bursting into tears as he remembered him.