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Basketball legend Michael Jordan broke down in tears paying tribute to his ‘little brother’ Kobe Bryant at his memorial last night, February 24.
During the memorial for Kobe and Gianna Bryant, Jordan referred to Kobe as his ‘late friend’ and his ‘little brother’.
In the 10-minute tribute, Jordan said:
All of us have brothers and sisters, little brothers, little sisters who for whatever reason tend to get in your stuff. Your closet, your shoes. Everything. He was a nuisance, if I could say that word, but that nuisance turned into love over a period of time. Just because of the admiration that they have for you. The questions, wanting to know every little detail.
When Kobe Bryant died, a piece of me died. And as I look in this arena and across the globe, a piece of you died.
While teary-eyed for a large majority of his speech, Jordan managed to crack a smile, and even brought a smile to the face of Kobe’s wife, Vanessa Bryant, as he joked about becoming a crying meme once again.
Speaking to the audience, he said:
[…] Now he’s got me, I’m going to have a look at another crying meme for the next…
I told my wife I wasn’t going to do this because I didn’t want to see that for the next three or four years, but that is what Kobe Bryant does to me.
Jordan went on to say how he could talk to his late friend about anything, not just basketball.
Finishing his speech, 57-year-old Jordan said he and his wife, Yvette Prieto, will keep Vanessa and Kobe’s daughters – Natalia, Bianka and Capri – close to their hearts, as well as sharing condolences with the other families affected by the tragic accident.
Calling Kobe ‘little brother’ one more time, Jordan received a well-deserved standing ovation as he finished his heartfelt speech.
More than 20,000 people were in attendance both inside and outside the memorial to pay tribute to Kobe and Gianna, who passed away January 26 in a helicopter crash, while more than 88,000 people applied for tickets to the event.
The star-studded event was attended by the likes of Beyoncé and Jennifer Lopez, as well as other big NBA stars such as Steph Curry and Shaquille O’Neal.
There were also performances by Usher, Alicia Keys, Christina Aguilera and Beyoncé.
Prior to the event, Staples Center president Lee Zeidman said he’d never seen so many roses in his ‘entire life’.
As per CNN, he said:
I can tell you, as a venue operator, for 35 years, I was at the Forum, now the Staples Center, I have never seen more roses in my entire life in there. There are about 35,000 roses that are surrounding the center stage.
By the looks of it, Kobe and Gianna got the send off they deserved. Rest in peace.
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