- NBA legend Michael Jordan said the late Kobe Bryant was like a “little brother” to him. “When Kobe Bryant died, a piece of me died,” he said at Monday’s memorial for Bryant.
- Jordan delivered a tearful speech honoring Bryant at a memorial dedicated to him and his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna.
- At the conclusion of his speech, tears were streaming down the basketball legend’s face. He offered a moment of levity by joking that he would become “another crying meme for the next three years.”
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LOS ANGELES – NBA legend Michael Jordan delivered a tearful eulogy to his “little brother” Kobe Bryant at a memorial tribute to him and his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna “Gigi” Bryant.
Jordan spoke at the public memorial honoring Kobe and Gigi, which was held at the Staples Center Monday morning.
Kobe, Gigi, and seven other people died in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California, on January 26.
“Kobe was my dear friend, he was like a little brother,” he said. “Everyone always wanted to talk about the comparisons between he and I.”
Jordan said it was a “nuisance” at first to always be compared with Bryant, but he said “that nuisance turned into love over a period of time, just because the admiration that they have for you as big brothers or big sisters.”
“He used to call me, text me, 11:30, 2:30, 3 o’clock in the morning, talking about post-up moves, footwork, and sometimes the training,” he said. “At first, it was an aggravation. But then it turned into a certain passion.”
Jordan said he ultimately grew into his role as Bryant’s “big brother,” and wanted to “be the best big brother that I could be.”
“To do that, you have to put up with the aggravation, the late night calls or the dumb questions,” he said. “I took great pride as I got to know Kobe Bryant that he was just trying to be a better person, a better basketball player.”
At the conclusion of his speech, tears were streaming down the basketball legend’s face. He offered a moment of levity by joking that he would become “another crying meme for the next three years.”
He related to the thousands of people in attendance at the memorial, saying he shared in their grief, and he made a promise to remember all of the memories with his “little brother.”
“When Kobe Bryant died, a piece of me died,” Jordan said. “And as I look in this arena and across the globe, a piece of you died or else you wouldn’t be here.”
“I promise you, from this day forward, I will live with the memories of knowing that I had a little brother, that I tried to help in every way I could,” he continued. “Please rest in peace, little brother.”
Watch his speech here:
—NBA TV (@NBATV) February 24, 2020
- Read more:
- ‘Now he got me having to look at another crying meme for the next 3 years’: Michael Jordan provided a moment of levity at the memorial service for Kobe and Gigi Bryant
- ‘He was my everything’: Vanessa Bryant said she and Kobe had ‘hoped to grow old together’ in a tearful eulogy to her late husband
- Kobe Bryant’s widow sues helicopter operator over deaths of husband and daughter
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