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

Two brothers reflect on their 'superman'

Like so many young Angelenos, brothers Miguel and Ronald Alfaro can’t remember the Lakers before Kobe.

Miguel, 24, said his earliest memory was watching a game when he was 5 years old. Those games were always on at home, more so than even the Dodgers, he said.

“Kobe was Superman, you know? Superman isn’t supposed to die,” Ronald, 22, said.

The two could barely hold back tears as they recalled their favorite moments.

Miguel still remembers a game in ‘06 or ‘07 when the Lakers beat the Phoenix Suns. “I don’t know what he did to me, but he touched me in a certain way. I feel like I lost a family member,” he said.

Michael Jordan draws praise for his Kobe speech

Michael Jordan isn't known for his public speaking, but his tribute to Kobe has drawn praise for its insight, candor and levity.

Michael Jordan: 'I'll have to look at another crying meme.'

Michael Jordan broke down crying in his tribute to Kobe, but he lifted the somber mood with a joke that drew huge applause and laughter: "I'll have to look at another crying meme."

He was referring to the famed internet meme known as "Crying Jordan," an image of the former Chicago Bulls megastar tearing up during his induction into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2009.

Michael and Mamba: One G.O.A.T. to another

It was fitting that Michael Jordan took the stage to pay tribute to Kobe. 

After all, if the NBA had a Mount Rushmore, Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant would both be on it. Kobe is fourth on the all-time scoring list with 33,643 points and Jordan fifth at 32,292.

Kobe has five NBA championship rings and Jordan six.

Jimmy Kimmel bringing levity after Alicia Keys' performance

Jimmy Kimmel brings levity to the celebration, joking that Kobe now wants to play "Moonlight Sonata" better than Alicia Keys.

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.