Did LeBron James skip Kobe Bryant's memorial? Fans wonder since he did not speak and there are no pics of him
Though multiple outlets reported his presence at the memorial service at the Staples Center, the NBA star was not seen in the live ceremony or any of the pictures from the event
'The Celebration of Life' memorial service for Kobe Bryant and daughter Gianna at the Staples Center on February 24 saw several notable celebrities, including Jennifer Lopez, Jimmy Kimmel, Beyonce, and Christina Aguilera, and basketball legends like Michael Jordan and Shaquille O'Neal among the attendees.
One face, however, seemed conspicuously absent: LeBron James. The NBA star was not seen in any of the footage during the live ceremony and was not in any of the photos either, while the likes of Stephen Curry, Draymond Green, James Harden, Russell Westbrook, and many others were present.
NBA Hall of Famers Bill Russell, Michael Jordan, Shaquille O'Neal, Phil Jackson, Elgin Baylor, Magic Johnson, Jerry West, and Kareem Abdul-Jabar were also there, as were retired NBA stars Dwyane Wade, Pau Gasol, Steve Nash, and NBA Commissioner Adam Silver.
James had even taken to Twitter to post "2/24" with purple and yellow hearts before the ceremony. The numbers, which were the date of the memorial, represented Kobe's and Gianna's jersey numbers while the purple and yellow were the colors of the Lakers, the team where Kobe spent 20 seasons and won five championships.
Fans were curious why James was nowehere to be seen, though multiple outlets, including The Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, and Entertainment Tonight, reported that he was among the attendees at the memorial. The suspicion is that he had asked not to be filmed out of respect.
O'Neal and Jordan both took to the center stage to pay a tribute to Kobe and Gianna, with the latter breaking down as he described Kobe as a "little brother" and sharing that a "part of me died" after hearing of the helicopter crash.
James had crossed Kobe on the NBA's all-time scoring list one day before the latter's death. Kobe's last social media posts had been congratulating his successor for breaking the record. While James did not speak yesterday, he did deliver an emotional eulogy at the Staples Center before the Lakers' first game after Kobe's death against the Portland Trail Blazers.
"Kobe is a brother to me," James had said. "From the time I was in high school watching him from afar, to getting in this league at 18 and watching him up close, all the battles that we had throughout my career, the one thing that we always shared was that determination to just want to win, to just want to be great."
"The fact that I'm here now means so much to me. I want to continue, along with my teammates, his legacy. Not only for this year but for as long as we can play this game of basketball that we love, because that's what Kobe Bryant would want," he concluded.