Alicia Keys' moving rendition of Beethoven's 'Moonlight Sonata'
Alicia Keys played Beethoven's "Moonlight Sonata," a favorite of Kobe and Vanessa's. Keys paid tribute to Kobe and Gianna on the night they died with a performance at the Grammy Awards of "It's So Hard to Say Goodbye" alongside Boyz II Men.
One of Kobe's final acts: Helping a friend
In one of his final communications, Kobe reached to his longtime friend and current Lakers GM Rob Pelinka, trying to help a young lady get into sports management.
Pelinka revealed that he was at church on the Sunday morning Kobe was killed, and that the hoops legend kept texting, asking him to put him in contact with a well-known baseball agent. Kobe wanted to help the daughter and friend of fellow crash victim John Altobelli, possibly score an internship in the male-dominated field of sports representation.
"Kobe's last human act was heroic," Penlink said. "He wanted to use his platform to bless and shape a young girl's future."
Key theme so far: Gratitude
Jimmy Kimmel and UConn women's basketball coach Geno Auriemma have both emphasized the importance of gratitude in the wake of grief — savoring the time we all have together.
Fan at memorial says Kobe brought his family together
LOS ANGELES — Lakers fan and Los Angeles resident Mark Arciaga said today is “bittersweet.”
He watched Kobe play as a rookie and kept watching all 20 years. It was a way for Arciaga and his son to bond, he said.
Learning that the Bryants lost not just a father but also a daughter was devastating for Arciaga and his entire family.
“Kobe was a part of our lives. He brought so much joy to his fans and Los Angeles and the whole world,” he said.
Oregon star Sabrina Ionescu makes it to memorial, despite game hours later, 400 miles away
Sabrina Ionescu might well have the busiest day of anyone in the Staples Center on Monday.
The University of Oregon basketball superstar spoke at Kobe's memorial and will be immediately boarding a plane for Northern California where her No. 3 Ducks will play at Stanford and the No. 4-rated Cardinal at 6 p.m. PT.
Ionescu revealed that she's sent text messages to Kobe, even after his passing, and added that "sometimes I find myself still waiting" for a response.
The significance of the early speakers
Gianna is being remembered as a preternaturally gifted young athlete. Kobe is being remembered as a tireless advocate for girls in sports. That's why it's probably no coincidence the first two speakers to represent the sport of basketball — Diana Taurasi and Sabrina Ionescu — are female superstars.
It's a testament to Kobe and Gianna's legacy, as many commentators pointed out.
L.A. Times columnist Bill Plaschke moved by Vanessa's tribute
Los Angeles Times columnist Bill Plaschke tweeted that Vanessa Bryant's letter to Kobe and Gigi "is the most powerful and courageous moment I’ve seen in Staples Center."
He would know. Plaschke has written for the L.A. Times since 1987 and been a columnist since 1996.
Diana Taurasi, the 'White Mamba,' is one of the greatest in WNBA history
As a child, Diana Taurasi said, she knew exactly who she wanted to be someday: the female Kobe.
The all-time WNBA scoring leader grew up in the Los Angeles suburb of Chino, a mere 35 miles east of Staples Center. She told those at the Staples Center that she spent countless hours shooting hoops in her front yard — dreaming she'd be the next Kobe. Eventually, Kobe granted her the ultimate nickname "White Mamba."
Kobe and Taurasi went on represent America in the 2008 Olympics.
Taurasi played at the University of Connecticut, which Gianna aspired to attend one day.
A doleful fan remembers the player she loved
LOS ANGELES — Monica Wilson drove an hour from Lakewood, California, to be at the Staples Center.
Her father was a referee when she was growing up and the family always watched whatever game was on TV. Basketball was Wilson’s favorite but she never got to see Kobe play in person. From afar, she loved his drive and the example he set for other young people following their passions.
“I feel pride being able to be here today,” she said. “It really hurts — the tragedy that took place — but I’m here today to show how much appreciation I have for him.”
Vanessa on Kobe and Gianna: 'God knew they couldn’t be on this earth without each other'
At the close of her speech, which highlighted many of the things Gianna and Kobe shared in common, such as the ability to quickly pick up the lyrics to a song, Vanessa said: "God knew they couldn’t be on this earth without each other. He had to bring them home to heaven together."
Kobe gave Vanessa the blue dress from 'The Notebook'
In an emotional tribute, Vanessa reflected on her marriage, saying Kobe called her princesca and reina.
"I was his first girlfriend, his first love, his wife, his best friend, his confidante and his protector," Vanessa said. "He was the early bird and I was the night owl. He was fire and I was ice, and vice versa sometimes."
The two planned to renew their vows and "always talked about" how they'd "be the fun grandparents."
Kobe even gave Vanessa the blue dress from the classic romantic film "The Notebook," because that was the dress the main character, Allie, wore when she returned to her boyfriend in the film.
"I"m so thankful Kobe heard KoKo say dada," Vanessa said. "He taught us all valuable lessons ... and we're so thankful he left those lessons and stories behind for us ... We're still the best team."