Michael Jordan Typically Comes Through In The Clutch At Kobe’s Memorial

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Kobe Bryant’s memorial was everything that the NBA icon would have wanted in a farewell. It was a star-studded event shared with the common folk that will keep his memory alive.

Honored guests, family, players, and friends of Kobe Bryant filled the seats inside Staples Center, while fans, media and the rest of the known universe paid their respects from the outside. 

The memorial kicked off with Beyonce surprising everyone with a heavenly rendition of her hit song “Halo.” She was accompanied by a full choir. Who better to capture the tragedy and triumph of Kobe’s life and the emotions of the moment than the most angelic voice in music today?


Vanessa Bryant delivered an emotional and courageous speech eulogizing her daughter and husband. She gave us great insight into the family and the relationships that existed there. Insight into those intimate moments that we never got a chance to see in person. 

How the Bryant household worked off the cameras. How Kobe immersed himself in his daughters’ lives, especially Gianna’s basketball career, after his retirement. His wife described him as “romantic” and “kind” and “unselfish.”

One particularly touching moment was when Vanessa expressed how eager Kobe was to see her seated in her special seat before every tip-off. And when she was running late, how he would get worried and ask security to locate her. 

Diana Taurasi, who was named “White Mamba” by Kobe,  and Oregon star Sabrina Ionescu shared the impact that Kobe had on their lives. 

Alicia Keys performed Beethoven’s “Moonlight Sonata.”

Christina Aguilera also sang her heart out for Black Mamba, Gigi and the seven others who tragically died in the helicopter crash on January 29.

Then the entire memorial was blown away when Kobe’s idol and the blueprint to his success — Michael Jordan —  gave a heartfelt, honest and gracious oral history of their relationship. A brotherhood that Jordan admits grew from Kobe pestering him into one of mutual respect, love, and an acknowledgment of Kobe’s hoops genius.

If people ever wondered how close MJ and Kobe truly were, then The GOAT made it clear that The Mamba was the only other player who he would ever acknowledge as being on his stratosphere as a competitor, creator, leader and transcending basketball student. 

JR Gamble joined The Shadow League in 2012. The General Manager of Content & Social Media is in his 25th year of covering sports and culture professionally. He has covered a wide variety of major sports and entertainment topics across different mediums, including radio, newspapers, magazines and national TV. His passion is baseball, the culturing of baseball and preserving and documenting the historically-impactful accomplishments and contributions of African-Americans in baseball.