Live blog: Kobe Bryant and Gianna honored in emotional memorial service

Thousands gathered Monday to pay tribute to NBA legend Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna.

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Basketball icon Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna were remembered at an emotional public tribute Monday, as thousands of mourners gathered at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.

The proceeds from ticket sales will be donated to the Mamba and Mambacita Sports Foundation, an organization that "exists to further Kobe and Gianna Bryant's legacy through charitable endeavors in sports," according to its website.

Read the latest updates:

Live Blog

MJ remembers his 'little brother'

Kobe's early days in Italy in the spotlight

The memorial has featured a few reminders of Kobe's childhood in Italy, including an audio snippet of him speaking in Italian.

He moved there when he was 6, after his dad, NBA player Joe Bryant, retired from pro ball in the United States and took his family to the city of Rieti. (The family later spent time in Reggio Calabria, Pistoia and Reggio Emilia.)

Claudio Lavanga, a Rome-based producer and correspondent for NBC News, wrote about the reaction to Kobe's death in Italy. You can read his article here.

Some of Kobe's most inspirational quotes

Kobe's book "Mamba Mentality: How I Play" detailed the steadfast mindset that carried him throughout his basketball career. As the memorial is underway, many are looking to Kobe's own words of wisdom for inspiration and strength.

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.

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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.