LeBron James Fights Back Tears as He Pays Tribute Kobe Bryant Head of Lakers vs Trail Blazers Game
LeBron James joined the Laker Nation for a memorial, where he shared a personal speech during an emotional tribute to Kobe Bryant and the victims who died in the helicopter crash.
LeBron came prepared with a speech in hand. However, before he could begin his tribute, he tossed his speech, and admitted that he would not be doing Kobe justice if he didn't speak from his heart.
In remembering all the lives lost, he began his speech by naming all nine of the victims killed in the helicopter crash alongside Kobe and his 13-years-old daughter, Gianna Bryant. Acknowledging the grief shared by those that loved Kobe and the other victims, LeBron said:
"As I look around this arena, we're all grieving, we're all hurt, we're all heartbroken and when we're going through things like this, the best thing you can do is lean on the shoulders of your family."
In his speech, LeBron admitted that the support and reception he received from the Laker Nation through the fans, coaches, players, and organization as a whole had shown him throughout the week what the true definition of a family is.
He said the support that everyone has shown is something he thinks Kobe, his daughter, Gianna and his wife, Vanessa Bryant would be thankful for. Vanessa did not attend the memorial. However, she shared a picture of roses and tribute shirt for Kobe and Gianna that was displayed at the arena.
Despite appearing emotional at times LeBron stood determined to give the players an inspiring speech. He encouraged people to celebrate during the game, he explained:
"Tonight we celebrate the kid who came here at 18 years of age, retired at 38 and became probably the best dad we've seen over the last three years."
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My girls and I want to thank the millions of people who’ve shown support and love during this horrific time. Thank you for all the prayers. We definitely need them. We are completely devastated by the sudden loss of my adoring husband, Kobe — the amazing father of our children; and my beautiful, sweet Gianna — a loving, thoughtful, and wonderful daughter, and amazing sister to Natalia, Bianka, and Capri. We are also devastated for the families who lost their loved ones on Sunday, and we share in their grief intimately. There aren’t enough words to describe our pain right now. I take comfort in knowing that Kobe and Gigi both knew that they were so deeply loved. We were so incredibly blessed to have them in our lives. I wish they were here with us forever. They were our beautiful blessings taken from us too soon. I’m not sure what our lives hold beyond today, and it’s impossible to imagine life without them. But we wake up each day, trying to keep pushing because Kobe, and our baby girl, Gigi, are shining on us to light the way. Our love for them is endless — and that’s to say, immeasurable. I just wish I could hug them, kiss them and bless them. Have them here with us, forever. Thank you for sharing your joy, your grief and your support with us. We ask that you grant us the respect and privacy we will need to navigate this new reality. To honor our Team Mamba family, the Mamba Sports Foundation has set up the MambaOnThree Fund to help support the other families affected by this tragedy. To donate, please go to MambaOnThree.org. To further Kobe and Gianna’s legacy in youth sports, please visit MambaSportsFoundation.org. Thank you so much for lifting us up in your prayers, and for loving Kobe, Gigi, Natalia, Bianka, Capri and me. #Mamba #Mambacita #GirlsDad #DaddysGirls #Family ❤️
In his dedication to his friend, Lebron also promised that he and his teammates would continue to celebrate Kobe's legacy for as long as they are playing basketball, he ended his speech saying:
"So in the words of Kobe Bryant, Mamba out. But in the words of us, not forgotten. Live on brother."
According to CNN, in a statement delivered to media outlets by Molly Carter, president of Kobe Inc., the family has requested their privacy, and warned the media against inaccurate stories, because they are causing "unnecessary pain" to the already grieving family.