Beyoncé Knowles kicked off Monday’s public memorial service for Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna in Los Angeles by performing several songs, backed by a full band and backup singers.
“I’m here because I love Kobe,” Knowles said.
She first performed “XO” off her self-titled 2013 album — a song Knowles said “was one of his favorite.” Knowles followed with a performance of her 2008 hit “Halo.” She concluded her performance with a kiss towards the sky.
Bryant and his daughter died last month in a tragic helicopter crash that also killed seven other passengers.
The service on Monday is being held at Staples Center in downtown Los Angeles, where Bryant played the majority of his career. Bryant won five titles with the Lakers, including a run of three titles in a row between 2000-2002 alongside co-star Shaquille O’Neal.
Bryant played 20 seasons for the Lakers, beginning in 1996 when he became the first guard to go from high school to the pros. Other career accomplishments include winning league MVP in 2008, two NBA Finals MVPs, and leading the league in scoring twice, including in 2006, when he scored 81 points in a January game against the Toronto Raptors. Since retiring in 2016, he had started to focus more on his entertainment efforts — winning an Oscar in 2018 — and helping coach Gianna’s basketball team. Bryant is survived by his wife Vanessa, his 17-year-old daughter Natalia, his 3 year old daughter Bianka, and baby Capri, who was born last year.