The “Celebration of Life” took place on Monday, February 24 and was attended by many musicians who wanted to pay their respects to Kobe and the other victims. Many had their own special bond with the NBA star and needed to say goodbye one last time. Others were even asked to perform for Kobe, Gigi, and their friends and teammates who were with them when the tragedy occurred.
The Grammy award-winning singer opened up the “Celebration of Life” ceremony with two of her hits on Monday. She began with “XO,” which she said was one of Kobe’s favorite songs. While wearing a gold suit to commemorate Kobe’s tenure with the Los Angeles Lakers, Beyoncé closed out the tribute with “Halo.” The friendship between the singer and basketball player dated back to the 1990s, when the then-aspiring rapper appeared on Destiny’s Child’s remix of “Say My Name.” The Hollywood Reporter wrote that the two remained close through the years. Kobe and Vanessa attended Beyoncé and Jay-Z’s New Years Eve party back in December 2019.
2. Jennifer Lopez
JLo was seen in the audience at Kobe’s memorial on Monday. The “Waiting for Tonight” singer appeared with her fiancé, Alex Rodriguez. The camera cut to the singer on several occasions. In one instance, she was seen crying as Vanessa spoke about both Kobe and Gigi. Before the ceremony took place, JLo shared a photo of her nails, which she decorated with Gigi and Kobe’s jersey numbers — 2 and 24. Shortly after his death, JLo left a message that she has so many “memories and moments” with him and was sending love to Vanessa and their surviving daughters — Natalia, Bianka, and Capri.
3. Queen Latifah
Queen Latifah could also be spotted at the Staples Center during Kobe’s grand memorial. The legendary rapper and multitalented celebrity didn’t speak, but she was seen reacting to several speeches that were made about Kobe and Gigi. She posted a photo after learning of Kobe’s death on Sunday, January 26. Deadline reported that she also added in a rap verse to Stevie Wonder’s Love’s in Need of Love Today to honor Kobe during All-Star weekend earlier this month.
“Give love a shot / When you do, say ‘Kobe’ / 24 hours, eight days a week, trophies,” she performed as the crowd cheered the salute.
4. Snoop Dogg
Viewers of Kobe’s celebration watched as Snoop attended the afternoon service. The rapper was with his wife, Shante Broadus, for the event. Since Kobe’s passing, Snoop has been vocal about what the loss of the longtime Lakers player meant to him. He has also posted several pictures to honor Kobe on Instagram. His loyalty to the basketball superstar even caused some controversy recently when he allegedly threatened Gayle King over comments she made regarding a troubling part of Kobe’s past.
Ciara was another music industry darling who was seen at the “Celebration of Life.” The expectant mother was panned to several times during the broadcast with her husband, Russell Wilson, by her side. She also shared on her Instagram stories that she would be attending and showed off her glittery nails and shiny rings. Ciara then captioned the story by referring to Gianna and Kobe as “angels.” While it’s unclear if the singer had a personal bond with the sports great, she did leave a touching tribute to him and Gigi shortly after their deaths. She posted a photo of a younger Gigi being held by her dad while wearing a Lakers jersey.
6. LL Cool J
The “Doin’ It” rapper attended the memorial, although he didn’t speak. The two were friends for years and LL shared when Kobe died that he watched his greatness from afar. The television personality also sent his condolences to Vanessa and their girls in his Instagram post.
“A month ago I was sitting in a restaurant talking about how great you were,” he began the tribute. “Now although you’re physically gone, your spirit lives on. You meant so much to so many people worldwide. We watched you grow from boy to family man. We watched you overcome adversity. We watched you tap in to your GOD given talents and potential. You inspired us to dig deeper and strive to go higher.”
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You left a legacy that will never be forgotten. I Remember us hanging out on set when you were a rookie. Rest In Peace & power great one. This one was NOT easy for any of us who loved you brother. But GOD has you now; and your inspiration and work ethic will inspire future generations for years to come. May the almighty embrace you, your daughter GiGi, and all the other souls that were on board. ????????
7. Alicia Keys
Alicia was asked to perform during the “Celebration of Life” event. The “Diary” singer performed “Moonlight Sonata.” During the ceremony, Kobe’s best friend and former manager Rob Pelinka said Kobe memorized the song to remember the love he had for Vanessa and their girls. Alicia hosted this year’s Grammy Awards, which fell on the same day as the helicopter crash. The singer shared during the Grammys how much Kobe meant to her and the Staples Center, where the Grammys took place. She said she wanted to do something special to honor him, and brought out Boyz II Men for a touching tribute.
“I was just thinking, and I called some of my closest people that helped me, you know, really find the truth in that moment,” she said on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, per Today. “It just so happened that Boyz II Men was there already that night, and we wanted to do something special, create something that felt like it was the right thing.”
8. Christina Aguilera
The Grammy winner sang “Ave Maria” as the final performance of the “Celebration of Life” ceremony. The Italian ballad paid tribute to Kobe’s early upbringing in Italy before he and his family moved to Philadelphia. The singer’s appearance was a surprise to the thousands of attendees and those who watched the ceremony. While it’s not clear if Christina and Kobe had a close relationship, she did end the performance by blowing a kiss to Kobe’s family, per Entertainment Tonight.