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‘Emotional’ LeBron James speaks out on Vanessa Bryant, attending Kobe-Gianna memorial

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Venessa Bryant and Lesbron James

Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James applauded Vanessa Bryant for her strength during Monday’s Celebration of Life memorial service for Kobe and Gianna Bryant, which LeBron may or may not have attended.

The Lakers legend’s widow courageously eulogized her late husband and daughter in front of a full house at Staples Center, and LeBron admitted he was an emotional wreck:

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“God knew [Kobe and Gianna] couldn’t be on this Earth without each other. He had to bring them home to have them together,” Vanessa said.

Her words were followed by a string of poignant remarks from other friends and peers of Kobe and Gianna — including emcee Jimmy Kimmel, Michael Jordan, Diana Taurasi, Sabrina Ionescu, Geno Auriemma, Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka, and Shaquille O’Neal. Beyonce, Alicia Keys, and Christina Aguilera performed musical odes.

Many celebrities and past and present members of the NBA family showed up to pay respects. LeBron reportedly was in attendance, though the Lakers star wasn’t spotted by any cameras and declined to confirm it on Tuesday. (Diana Taurasi did seem to gesture specifically toward somebody when she took a playful shot at LeBron’s jumper.)

Lesbron James

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James and Bryant had developed a friendship in recent years, and Kobe had called LeBron the night before his tragic death to congratulate LeBron on passing him on the NBA’s all-time scoring list. LeBron and Lakers teammate Anthony Davis got new tattoos dedicated to Kobe.

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James delivered emotional remarks on Bryant at Staples Center in the Lakers’ first home game after the passing of Kobe:

Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James applauded Vanessa Bryant for her strength during Monday’s Celebration of Life memorial service for Kobe and Gianna Bryant, which LeBron may or may not have attended.

The Lakers legend’s widow courageously eulogized her late husband and daughter in front of a full house at Staples Center, and LeBron admitted he was an emotional wreck:

Lesbron James walk
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LeBron said yesterday he was “emotionally a wreck like everyone else. It was a challenging day for all of us.” But he declined to say whether he attended the memorial.

His biggest takeaway was “how strong and how bold Vanessa is to stand up there the way she did.”

“God knew [Kobe and Gianna] couldn’t be on this Earth without each other. He had to bring them home to have them together,” Vanessa said.

Her words were followed by a string of poignant remarks from other friends and peers of Kobe and Gianna — including emcee Jimmy Kimmel, Michael Jordan, Diana Taurasi, Sabrina Ionescu, Geno Auriemma, Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka, and Shaquille O’Neal. Beyonce, Alicia Keys, and Christina Aguilera performed musical odes.

Many celebrities and past and present members of the NBA family showed up to pay respects. LeBron reportedly was in attendance, though the Lakers star wasn’t spotted by any cameras and declined to confirm it on Tuesday. (Diana Taurasi did seem to gesture specifically toward somebody when she took a playful shot at LeBron’s jumper.)

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James and Bryant had developed a friendship in recent years, and Kobe had called LeBron the night before his tragic death to congratulate LeBron on passing him on the NBA’s all-time scoring list. LeBron and Lakers teammate Anthony Davis got new tattoos dedicated to Kobe.

James delivered emotional remarks on Bryant at Staples Center in the Lakers’ first home game after the passing of Kobe:

It has been nearly a month since Kobe and Gianna’s deaths, but this tragedy will surely continue to weigh on all those affected for a long time.

LeBron James: there’s ‘never going to be closure’ over Kobe Bryant’s death
Lesbron James
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LeBron James has spoken about his continuing grief over the death of Kobe Bryant last month.

A memorial service was held for James’s fellow LA Laker at the Staples Center on Monday. Former NBA stars Michael Jordan and Shaquille O’Neal spoke at the event, although it is unclear whether James, who has spoken previously of the emotional toll of his close friend’s death, was in attendance. Bryant was killed in a helicopter crash in January along with eight others, including his daughter Gianna.

“Emotionally a wreck, like everyone else,” James said on Tuesday when he was asked about how he was coping with Bryant’s death. “Another challenging day for all of us. Like you’ve been hearing me talk about the last couple times you guys asked me about the whole situation, it’s just been hard to kind of talk about it. Trying not to go back. It’s just tough.”

Lesbron James say

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Bryant and James played together for Team USA at the Olympics. James has already described the time after Bryant’s death as “the toughest week of my life”. He was asked on Tuesday if this week’s memorial service could allow the Lakers to move on from Bryant’s death as the end of the regular season approaches.

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“It’s never a closure. It’s never going to be a closure,” James said. “I mean, we continue to live on his legacy and continue to have our hearts heavy with both sadness and with happiness for his family that are still here. So it’s not a closure. But it was a celebration which was well received from not only the Laker faithful, not only the family here, but everybody around the world.”

Bryant’s wife, Vanessa, gave a moving speech at Monday’s ceremony. James was quick to pay tribute to her.

Lesbron James speaks
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“One thing I can come out of it saying is how strong and how bold and how powerful Vanessa is,” he said. “To stand up there the way she did, to give that speech the way she gave that speech. I commend her.

“My heart his with their family still. With his three daughters that are still here. With his wife. With his mom and dad and his sisters. It was just a very difficult day. Obviously a celebration, but it was a difficult day for all of us. So I appreciate it. If we could move on to tonight, that would be great.”

Some have asked whether it is fair to force players such as James to speak about their grief in public. On Monday, James seemed uncomfortable with some of the questioning. “I respect your question, for sure, but it’s very emotional,” he told reporters. “A very emotional day. A very tough day for myself, for my family, for everyone involved,” he said.