Full speech of Micheal Jordan and Vanessa Bryant at Kobe Bryant's memorial service

Micheal Jordan helping Kobe's widow off the stage after her speech

On Monday, February 24, 2020, the world stood still once again to honour the memories of late NBA legend, Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna and seven others who were killed in the helicopter crash which happened on January 26, 2020, in Calabasas, a suburb of Los Angeles.

Most of his family friends, close associates, fans and celebrities turned out in their numbers to pay their last respect to the NBA icon in a memorial service which took place in the Staples Center, Los Angeles, where Kobe shone like a million star during his playing days.

So many speeches were offered during the ceremony but below are the two speeches the world cannot stop talking about:

NBA legend, Micheal Jordan's full speech at Kobe's memorial: 

I would say good morning but it’s afternoon. I’m grateful to Vanessa and Bryant family for the opportunity to speak today. I’m grateful to be here, to honor Gigi and celebrate the gift that Kobe gave us all. What he accomplished as a basketball player, as a businessman, and a storyteller, and as a father.

In the game of basketball, in life, as a parent, Kobe left nothing in the tank. He left it all on the floor.

Maybe it surprised people that Kobe and I were very close friends. But we were very close friends. Kobe was my dear friend, he was like a little brother. Everyone always wanted to talk about the comparisons between he and I. I just wanted to talk about Kobe. You know, all of us have brothers, sisters, little brothers, little sisters who, for whatever reason, always tend to get in your stuff, your closet, your shoes, everything. It was a nuisance, if I can say that word.

But that nuisance turned into love over a period of time, just because the admiration that they have for you as big brothers or big sisters, the questions, the wanting to know every little detail about life that they’re about to embark on. He used to call me, text me, 11:30, 2:30, 3 o’clock in the morning talking about post up moves footwork, and sometimes the training. At first, it was an aggravation. But then it turned into a certain passion. This kid had passion that you would never know.

It’s amazing thing about passion. If you love something, if you have a strong passion for something, you would go to the extreme to try to understand or try to get it, either ice cream, cokes, hamburgers, whatever you have a love for. If you have to walk, you will go get it. If you have to beg someone, you will go get it. What Kobe Bryant was to me was the inspiration that someone truly cared about the way that I played the game or the way that he wanted to play the game.

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. To do that you have to put up with the aggravation, the late night calls or the dumb questions. I took great pride as I got to know Kobe Bryant that he was just trying to be a better person, a better basketball player. We talked about business. We talked about family. We talked about everything, and he was just trying to be a better person.

Now he’s got me. I’ll have to 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.

That is what Kobe Bryant does to me. I’m pretty sure Vanessa and his friends all can say the same thing. He knows how to get to you in a way that affects you personally, even though he’s being a pain in the ass. But you have a sense of love for him in the way that he can bring out the best in you. And he did that for me.

I remember, maybe a couple of months ago, he sends me a text. And he said, “I’m trying to teach my daughter some moves. And I don’t know what I was thinking, or what I was working on, but what were you thinking about when you were growing up trying to work on your moves?” I said, “What age?” He says, “12.” I said, “12, I was trying to play baseball.” He sends me a text back saying, “Laughing my ass off.”

This is at 2 o’clock in the morning. But the thing about him was we could talk about anything that related to basketball, but we could talk about anything related to life. And we as we grew up in life rarely have friends that we can have conversations like that. Well, it’s even rarer when you can go up against adversaries and have conversations like that.

I went and saw Phil Jackson in 1999 or maybe 2000, I don’t know when Phil was here in L.A. And I walk in and Kobe’s sitting there. I’m in a suit, and the first thing Kobe said, “Did you bring your shoes?” No, I wasn’t thinking about playing. But his attitude to compete and play against someone he felt like he could enhance and improve his game. To me, that’s what I loved about the kid. Absolutely loved the game. No matter where he saw me, it was a challenge.

And I admired him because his passion, you rarely see someone who’s looking at trying to improve each and every day, not just in sports but as a parent, as a husband. I am inspired by what he’s done and what he shared with Vanessa and what he shared with his kids. I have a daughter who is 30, I became a grandparent, and I have two twins. I have the twins at six. I can’t wait to get home to become a girl dad, and to hug them and to see the love and the smiles that they bring to us as parents. He taught me that just by looking at this tonight, looking at how he responded and reacted with the people that he actually loved. These are the things that we will continue to learn from Kobe Bryant.

To Vanessa, Natalia, Bianca, Capri, my wife and I will keep you close in our hearts and our prayers. We’ll always be with you, always. I also want to offer our condolences and support to all the families affected by this enormous tragedy.

Kobe gave every last ounce of himself to whatever he was doing. After basketball he showed a creative side to himself that I didn’t think any of us knew he had. In retirement, he seemed so happy. He found new passions. And he continued to give back as a coach in his community. More importantly, he was an amazing dad, amazing husband who dedicated himself to his family and who loved his daughters with all his heart.

Kobe never left anything on the court, and I think that’s what he would want for us to do. No one knows how much time we have. That’s why we must live in the moment, we must enjoy the moment. We must reach and see and spend as much time as we can with our families and friends and the people that we absolutely love. To live in the moment means to enjoy each and every one that we come in contact with.

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 or else you wouldn’t be here. Those are the memories that we have to live with and we learn from. I promise you from this day forward, I will live with the memories that knowing that I had a little brother, that I tried to help in every way I could please rest in piece, little brother.

Full speech of Kobe's widow Vanessa Bryant 

OK. Now for my soul mate. Kobe was known as a fierce competitor on the basketball court. The greatest of all time, a writer and Oscar winner, and the black mamba. But to me, he was Kobe-Kobe, my boo-boo, my bay-boo. My papi chulo. I was his Vivi, his principessa, his reina, his queen Mamba. ... I couldn’t see him as a celebrity, nor just an incredible basketball player.

He was my sweet husband, and the beautiful father of our children. He was mine. He was my everything. Kobe and I have been together since I was 17½ years old. I was his first girlfriend, his first love, his wife, his best friend. His confidant, and his protector. He was the most amazing husband. Kobe loved me more than I could ever express or put into words. He was the early bird, and I was the night owl. I was fire, he was ice and vice versa at times. We balanced each other out. He would do anything for me. I have no idea how I deserved a man that loved and wanted me more than Kobe. He was charismatic, a gentleman. He was loving, adoring and romantic.

He was truly the romantic one in our relationship. I look forward to Valentine’s Day and our anniversaries every year. He plans special anniversary trips, and a special traditional gift for every year of our marriage. He even had made my most treasured gifts. He just thought outside the box; it was so thoughtful, even while working hard to be the best athlete. He gave me the actual notebook and the blue dress Rachel McAdams wore in “The Notebook” movie. When I asked him why he chose the blue dress, he said because it was the scene when Allie comes back to Noah. We had hoped to grow all together like the movie.

We really had an amazing love story. We loved each other with our whole beings. Two perfectly imperfect people making a beautiful family, and raising our sweet and amazing girls.

A couple of weeks before they passed, Kobe sent me a sweet text and mentioned how he wanted to spend time together. Just the two of us without our kids, because I’m his best friend first. We never got the chance to do it.

We were busy taking care of our girls and just doing our regular, everyday responsibilities. But I’m thankful I have that recent text. It means so much to me. Kobe wanted us to renew our vows. He wanted Natalia to take over his company, and he wanted to travel the world together.

We always talked about how we would be the fun grandparents to our daughters’ children. He would have been the coolest grandpa. Kobe was the MVP of girl dads, or MVD.

He never left the toilet seat up. He always told the girls how beautiful and smart they are. He taught them how to be brave and how to keep pushing forward when things get tough. And when Kobe retired from the NBA, he took over dropping off and picking up our girls from school since I was at home pregnant with Bianca and just recently home nursing Capri. When Kobe was still playing, I used to show up an hour early to be the first in line to pick up Natalia and Gianna from school, and I told him he couldn’t drop the ball once he took over.

He was late one time. And we most definitely let him know that I was never late. So he showed up one hour and 20 minutes early after that. He always knew there was room for improvement, and wanted to do better. He happily did carpool and enjoyed spending time in the car with our girls. He was a doting father, a father that was hands-on and present.

He helped me bathe Bianca and Capri almost every night. He would sing the silly songs in the shower and continue making them laugh and smile as he lathered them with lotion and got them ready for bed. He had magic arms that could put Capri to sleep in only a few minutes. He said he had it down to a science, eight times up and down our hallway. He loved taking Bianca to Fashion Island to watch her play in the koi pond area, and loved taking her to park. Their most recent visit to the koi pond was the evening before he and Gigi passed.

He shared a love of movies and the breakdown of films with Natalia. He enjoyed renting out theaters and taking Natalia to watch the newest “Star Wars” movie or Harry Potter films. And they would have movie marathons and he enjoyed every second of it. He loved your typical tear-jerkers too. He liked watching “Step Mom,” “Steel Magnolias” and “Little Women.” He had a tender heart. Kobe somehow knew where I was at all times, specifically when I was late to his games. He would worry about me if I wasn’t in my seat at the start of each game and would ask security where I was at the first time-out of the first quarter.

And my smart ass would tell him that he wasn’t going to drop 81 points within the first 10 minutes of the game. I think anyone with kids understands that sometimes we can’t make it out the door on time. And eventually he was used to my tardiness and balled out. The fact that he could play on an intense professional level and still be concerned by making sure we made it to the game safely was just another example of how family came first to him. He loved being Gianna’s basketball coach.

He told me he wished he would have convinced Natalia to play basketball, so they could have spent even more time together. But he also wanted her to pursue her own passion. He watched Natalia play a volleyball tournament on her birthday on Jan. 19 and he noticed how she’s a very intelligent player. He was convinced she would made a great point guard with her vision of the court. And he told me that he wanted Bianca and Capri to take up basketball, when they get older, so he could spend just as much time with them as he did with Gigi. And Kobe always told Bianca and Capri that they were going to grow up and play basketball and “mix they ass up.”

Now they won’t have their daddy and sister here to teach them, and that is truly a loss I do not understand. But I’m so thankful Kobe heard Coco say “dada.” He isn’t going to be here to drop Bianca and Capri off at pre-K or kindergarten. He isn’t going to be here to tell me to “get a grip, V,” when we have to leave the kindergarten classroom, or show up to our daughters’ doctor’s visits for my own emotional support.

Kobe and Gigi

He isn’t going to be able to walk our girls down the aisle or spin me around the dance floor while singing “PYT” to me. But I want my daughters to know and remember the amazing person, husband and father he was, the kind of man that wanted to teach the future generations to be better, and keep them from making his own mistakes. He always liked working and doing projects to improve kids’ lives. He taught us all valuable lessons about life and sports through his NBA career, his books, his show detail and his “Punies” podcast.

And we’re so thankful he left those lessons and stories behind for us. He was thoughtful and wrote the best love letters and cards, and Gigi had his wonderful ability to express her feelings to pick up paper and make you feel her love through her words. She was thoughtful like him. They were so easy to love, everyone naturally gravitated toward them. They were funny, happy, silly, and they loved life. They were so full of joy and adventure. God knew they couldn’t be on this earth without each other. He had to bring them home to heaven together.

Babe, you take care of our Gigi, and I got Noni, BB, and Coco. We are still the best team. We love and miss you booboo and Gigi. May you both rest in peace, and have fun in Heaven until we meet again. We love you both, and miss you. Forever and always, Mommy.

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