The greatest basketball player in history, Michael Jordan, paid a tear-filled tribute to late Lakers star, Kobe Bryant, on Monday at Staples Center in downtown Los Angeles. The basketball legend took to the stage to give a speech to the arena full of 20,000 mourners that included Bryant’s wife Vanessa Bryant, 37, and their daughters.
“I’m grateful to be here to honor Gigi and celebrate the gift that Kobe gave us all,” said 57-year-old Jordan. “What he accomplished as a basketball player, as a businessman and a storyteller and as a father. In the game of basketball and life as a parent, Kobe left nothing in the tank. He left it all on the floor,” continued Jordan.
“Kobe was my dear friend, he was like a little brother,” Jordan. “Everyone always wanted to talk about the comparisons between he and I. I just wanted to talk about Kobe.” The tearful Jordan also talked about how his relationship with Bryant grew from one of begrudging acceptance to that of true friendship between the two.
There were tears on the star’s face throughout his emotional speech and he even added a lighter moment to the powerful memorial with “now he’s got me,” Jordan said. “And I’ll have to look at another crying meme for the next….” The speech was a true celebration of life in honor of the basketball legend and his 13-year-old daughter who were killed among seven others in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California, on January 26.