LOOK: Beyonce kicks off LA memorial for Kobe Bryant and daughter
LOS ANGELES, USA – Beyonce kicked off a star-studded memorial ceremony in Los Angeles on Monday for basketball great Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna who died along with 7 others in a helicopter crash last month.
"I'm here because I love Kobe," said the 70-time Grammy-nominated artist as she launched into one of Bryant's favorite songs "XO," dressed in a golden suit – the color of the Los Angeles Lakers, Bryant's team for two decades.
The public memorial – dubbed "A Celebration of Life for Kobe and Gianna Bryant" – was being held at Staples Center, the arena where Bryant wowed fans for 17 years.
The 2/24 date for the memorial carries special significance as it coincides with Bryant's jersey number – "24" – and Gianna's "2" jersey number.
Fellow NBA legends Magic Johnson, Michael Jordan, Shaquille O'Neal, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Bill Russell were among those attending the memorial along with Bryant family members and fans.
"It's hard in a two-minute, five-minute time to say everything he meant to the world, to the NBA and to basketball fans. He's bigger than life," Johnson said on Sunday.
"And it will take years to get over his passing and his daughter and the 7 other people who lost their lives as well."
A visibly shaken Jimmy Kimmel also spoke at the ceremony saying he saw Kobe and Gianna's faces and jersey numbers everywhere in Los Angeles.
Among other celebrities attending the memorial were filmmaker Spike Lee – who was close friends with Bryant and directed a documentary on his life – and rapper Snoop Dogg, an avid Lakers fan.
Jennifer Lopez honored Bryant and his daughter Gianna with a special nail design which includes the numbers 24 and 2.
Ciara also had a unique nail art dedicated to the tribute as the bottom of her finger nails were painted with "Kobe" and "Gigi".