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CNN RIGHT NOW
Public Memorial Underway For Kobe & Gianna Bryant. Aired 1:30- 2p ET
Aired February 24, 2020 - 13:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, he might be only 18 years and five months old, but this guy can do everything the veterans can do and do it better, perhaps, Kobe Bryant.
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KOBE BRYANT, FORMER L.A. LAKERS BASKETBALL PLAYER: If you work hard enough, dreams come true. Those times when you get up early and you work hard, those times you stayed up late and you work hard, those times when you don't feel like working, you're too tired, you don't want to push yourself, but you do, anyway. That is actually the dream. That's the dream.
It's not the destination. It's the journey. If you guys could understand that, then what you'll see happen is that you won't accomplish your dreams. Your dreams won't come true. Something greater will.
BRYANT: You guys will always be in my heart. I sincerely, sincerely appreciate it. No words can describe how I feel about you guys.
Thank you. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart. I love you guys.
BRYANT: I love you guys!
BRYANT: What can I say?
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UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Our thanks go out to Beyonce for being with us today and for expressing her love so beautifully.
Another good friend of the Bryants and the Laker family is here to guide us through this morning's celebration.
Will you please welcome Jimmy Kimmel.
JIMMY KIMMEL, HOST, "JIMMY KIMMEL LIVE!": You picked the wrong person to guide you through, I'm going to tell you that right now.
KIMMEL: I want to thank everyone for being here and thank you for gathering to celebrate the lives of Alyssa Altobelli, her parents, John and Keri Altobelli, Payton Chester, her mother Sarah Chester, Christina Mauser, Ara Zabayan, Gigi Bryant and her father, Kobe Bryant.
This is a sad day, but it is also a celebration of life, of their lives and of life itself in the building where those of us who are Lakers fans and Kobe fans celebrated so many of the best times of our lives. And I'm honored to have been asked to speak here.
The proceeds from the tickets you bought go directly to the Mamba and Mambacita Sports Foundation, which supports youth sports in underserved communities. I also encourage you to go to Mambaonthree.org to give to the Mamba on Three Fund, which was coordinated to provide support to the Mauser and Zabayan families.
I can only imagine how difficult this is for them. I don't think any of us could have imagined this.
Everywhere you go, you see his face, his number, Gigi's face, Gigi's number, at every intersection. There are hundreds of murals painted by artists who were inspired not because he's a basketball player but because Kobe was an artist, too. And not just in L.A., across the country in Kobe's hometown,
Philadelphia and Italy and India, the Philippines, China, New York, Phoenix, Boston, for god's sake.
KIMMEL: In places where you would be booed on the court, Kobe is missed. Even the great Boston Celtic Bill Russell wore number 24 on a Lakers jersey to yesterday's game.
KIMMEL: I knew he would come to us eventually.
KIMMEL: Today, we're joined by Kobe's teammates and opponents alike, his friends, his family and his fans, as we try to make sense of what happened to these nine beautiful people who were by all accounts so full of life, who left behind parents, friends, coworkers, classmates, siblings and children.
I've been trying to come up with something positive to take away from this, and it was hard because there isn't much, but the best thing I think I was able to come up with is this: gratitude.
It seems to me that all we can do is be grateful for the time we had with them and for the time we have left with each other, and that's all.
In the Catholic Church, you know, which the Bryant family is part of, at mass, we share the sign of peace. This is a moment to hug or shake hands with people around you. And it occurred to me that that is something that only seems to happen at church and at sporting events when perfect strangers who love the same team are suddenly hugging and high-fiving and celebrating together.
So since we are here today to celebrate, I'd like to invite you right now to take a moment to say hello to the people around you, whether you know them or not, to be grateful for life and for the fact that we are all here together.
KIMMEL: Now I'd like to introduce a person who invited us all here today on 2/24, because she knew we needed it. We cannot celebrate the lives of Kobe and Gigi and all the people we lost without honoring the woman that Kobe and Gigi loved most.
Please welcome Vanessa Bryant. (CHEERING)
VANESSA BRYANT, WIDOW OF KOBE BRYANT: Thank you.
BRYANT: Thank you all so much for being here. It means so much to us.
BRYANT: Love you, too.
BRYANT: First, I'd like to thank everyone for coming today. The outpouring of love and support that my family has felt from around the world has been so uplifting. Thank you so much for all of your prayers.
I'd like to talk about both Kobe and Gigi, but I'll start with my baby girl first. My baby girl.
BRYANT: Gianna Bryant was a sweet soul. And she was very thoughtful and always kissed me good night and kiss me good morning. And there were a few occasions where I was absolutely tired from being up from being with Bianka and Capri, and I thought she had left for school without saying goodbye.
I texted and say, no kiss. And Gianna would reply with, Mama, I kissed you but you were asleep and I didn't want to wake you. She knew how much her morning and evening kisses meant to me. And she was so thoughtful to remember to kiss me every day.
She was daddy's girl but I know she loved her mama. And she would always tell me and show me how much she loved me. She was one of my very best friends.
She loved to bake. She loved putting a smile on everyone's face. Last August, she made a beautiful birthday cake for her daddy. It had fondant and it looked like it had blue crystals. Kobe's birthday cake looked like it was professional decorated. She made the best chocolate chip cookies.
She loved watching cooking shows and cupcake wars with me. And she loved watching "Survivor" and NBA games on TV with her daddy. She also loved watching Disney movies with her sisters.
Gigi was very competitive like her daddy. But Gianna had a sweet grace about her. Her smile was like sunshine. Her smile took up her entire face, like mine. Kobe always said she was
me. She had my fire, my personality and sarcasm. And she was tender and loving on the inside. She had the best laugh. It was infectious. It was pure and genuine.
Kobe and Gianna naturally gravitated towards each other. She had Kobe's ability to listen to a song and have all the lyrics memorized after listening a couple times. It was their secret talent.
She was an incredible athlete. She was great at gymnastics, soccer, softball, dance, and basketball. She was an incredible dancer, too. She loved to swim, dance, do cartwheels and jump into our swimming pool.
Gigi was confident but not in an arrogant way. She loved helping and teaching other people things. At school, she offered the boys' basketball coaches to help give the boys' basketball team some pointers --
BRYANT: -- like the triangle offense.
BRYANT: She was very much like her daddy and they both liked helping people learn new things and master them. They were great teachers.
Gigi was very sweet. She was always making sure everybody was OK and she was our shepherd. She always kept our family together. She loved family traditions, and family movie night and game night and vacations were important to her. Gigi always looked out for everyone. She was very in tune with our feelings and wanted the best for us.
Gianna was smart. She knew how to read, speak and write Mandarin, and she knew Spanish and had great grades and kept them up all while becoming an incredible basketball player. She was president of school spirit on student council. She was director's assistant for her school play, just like her big sister.
She was looking forward to graduating eighth grade and moving on to high school with her big sister, Natalia. I am so happy she was given the opportunity to know that she was accepted to the same high school. She was really happy. Gianna made us all proud and she still does.
Gianna never tried to conform. She was always herself. She was a nice person, a leader, a teacher. Wearing a white tee, black leggings, a denim jacket, white high-top Converse and a flannel tied around her waist with straight was her go-to style. She had so much swag and rhythm ever since she was a baby.
She gave the best hugs and kisses. She had gorgeous soft lips like her daddy. She would hug me and hold me so tight I could feel her love for me. And I loved the way she looked up at me while hugging me. It was as if she was soaking me all in. We loved each other so much. I miss her so much. She was so energetic. I could not keep up with her energy. She left
Natalia and I on track once when she was about six years old.
BRYANT: We let her have a head start and she still dusted us.
I miss her sweet kisses. I miss her cleverness. And I miss her sarcasm and her wit, and that adorable side sly smile followed with a grin and a burst of laughter. We shared the same cat-that-ate-the-canary grin.
Gigi was sunshine and she brightened up my day every day. I miss looking at her beautiful face.
She was always so good. A rule follower. I knew I could always count on her to do the right thing.
She was the most loving daughter, and thoughtful little sister and silly big sister. She happily helped to carry the little diaper bag or played with them. She like helping me with Bianka and Capri. Bianka loved going to the playground, swimming and jumping on the trampoline with Gigi.
I used to tell Gigi that I thought Coco considered her her favorite sister. Capri would smile from ear to ear when Gigi walked into the room. And Capri reminds me a lot of Gianna. They look alike and just smile with their whole face, pure joy.
We will not be able to see Gigi go to high school with Natalia and ask her how her day went. We did not get a chance to teach her how to drive a car.
I won't be able to tell her how gorgeous she looks on her wedding day. I will never get to see my baby girl walk down the aisle, have a father-daughter dance with her daddy, dance on the dance floor with me or have babies on her own. Gianna would have been an amazing mommy. She was very maternal ever since she was very little.
Gigi most likely would have become the best player in the WNBA. She would have made a huge difference --
-- she would have made a huge difference for women's basketball.
She wrote papers in school defending women and wrote about how the unequal pay difference for the NBA and WNBA leagues was not fair. I truly feel she made positive changes for the WNBA players now. They knew Gigi's goal was to eventually play in the WNBA.
I am still so proud of Gianna. She made a difference and was kind to everybody she met in the 13 years she was here on earth.
Her classmates shared many fond memories about Gianna with us, and those stories reminded me that Gianna loved and showed everyone that no act of kindness is ever too small to make a difference in somebody's life. She was always, always considerate of others and their feelings.
She was a beautiful, kind, happy, silly, thoughtful and loving daughter and sister. She had so much life and had so much more to offer this world. I cannot imagine life without her.
Mommy, Natalia, Bianka, and Capri and daddy love you so much, Gigi. And we miss your sweet handmade cards, your sweet kisses and your gorgeous smile. I miss you, all of you, every day. I love you.
BRYANT: OK. Now, for my soulmate.
Kobe was known as a fierce competitor on the basketball court. The greatest of all-time, a writer, an Oscar winner and the black Mamba.
BRYANT: But to me, he was Koco, my Booboo, my Babo, by Boppychewlow (ph).
I was his Bebe, his Nayna (ph), his queen mama, Mamba, his Vessy, Manneeky, Fabuleeky.
BRYANT: I couldn't see him a celebrity, nor just an incredible basketball player. He was my sweet husband and the beautiful father of our children. He was mine. He was my everything.