Comedian Jimmy Kimmel’s opening remarks at the public memorial service for Kobe and Gianna Bryant had the late-night talk show and the audience in tears.
Taking the mic after Beyoncé performed both “XO” — which she said was one of Bryant’s favorite songs — and “Halo,” Kimmel was, of course, much more somber than he is each evening on Jimmy Kimmel Live! and perhaps more so than we’ve ever heard him. He had to stop speaking to steady his voice a few times.
“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,” Kimmel told the crowd gathered at Staples Center in Los Angeles. “I don’t think any of us could have imagined this.”
“Everywhere you go,” Kimmel said, “you see his face, his number, Gigi’s face, Gigi’s number… everywhere, at every intersection. There are hundreds of murals painted by artists who are inspired, not because he is a basketball player, but because Kobe was an artist, too.”
“In places that he would be booed on the court, Kobe is missed,” Kimmel said.
He noted that Bill Russell, a legendary player for the Lakers’ rivals, the Boston Celtics, wore a Bryant jersey on Sunday, as the Celtics played the Lakers for the first time since the tragedy.
Then, Kimmel made his first joke: “I knew he would come to us eventually.”
He said that he’d been trying to come up with something positive that had come out of the deaths, but it’s been hard.
“The best thing I think I was able to come up with is this: gratitude,” Kimmel said. “It seems to me 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.”
Introducing Naughty But Nice with Rob Shuter
Meet your new best friend. You know, that friend you text to find out the latest dirt on your work nemesis. Except in this case, it’s about the biggest stars in Hollywood. There isn’t a single celebrity Rob Shuter hasn’t met or personally worked with. So get ready to get the lowdown on your favorite stars every Monday through Thursday, beginning Jan. 20.
Called “America’s Number ONE Gossip Columnist” by The National Enquirer.
Rob ‘Naughty But Nice’ Shuter breaks celebrity news every day on his website NaughtyGossip.com where he delivers all the dish about the stars we love in his naughty but nice signature style.
You can also catch him co-hosting and breaking celebrity news on Good Day New York, The Today Show, The Talk, Wendy Williams Show, CNN, Extra and Z100’s ‘Elvis Duran.’
Previously, Rob was the Huffington Post’s only celebrity columnist and the former executive editor of OK! Magazine. Rob has also hosted his own Saturday night talk show on Mark Cuban’s channel and his own daily morning show, ‘The Gossip Table,’ on VH1! He just celebrated his one-year anniversary on Radio Rob – his subscription-based daily live podcast gossip show!
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Before Rob was one of the world’s most successful entertainment reporters, he was a publicist working for Jennifer Lopez, Alicia Keys, P. Diddy, Jessica Simpson and Jon Bon Jovi!
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