It’s been a month since Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna died in a helicopter crash. Fans, friends and family of the NBA legend have been mourning their unexpected passing. At the Staples Center on Monday, 20,000 guests came together to pay tribute to Kobe and GiGi. Michael Jordan, Shaquille O’Neal and Beyoncé were among the attendees who took to the stage to honor them, but perhaps the most touching was a 22-minute speech from Vanessa Bryant.
During a tearful tribute from Kobe Bryant’s wife and mother to his four children, she mentioned a thoughtful Valentine’s Day gift she once received from 2004 romance film, The Notebook. Back in 2013, he gifted her the actual dress Rachel McAdams wore during the famous scene when she and Ryan Gosling kiss in the rain. In Vanessa Bryant’s words:
When I asked him why he chose the blue dress, he said it was because it was the scene when Allie comes back to Noah. We had hoped to grow old together like the movie.
That's heartbreaking. The couple actually separated and divorced back in 2011. Vanessa initially shared that Kobe Bryant gifted her the blue dress from The Notebook shortly after they announced they were back together in 2013. Not unlike the Nicholas Sparks story, the couple reunited. It’s the “grow old” part that becomes especially tender in the wake of his death. You can check out Vanessa’s Instagram post of the iconic dress below:
In her speech at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California, Vanessa Bryant revealed that Kobe Bryant was “truly” the romantic one between the two of them. She recalled the anniversary trips he’d plan and gifts he’d give her to mark each year they were married. She continued with these words:
We really had an amazing love story. We loved each other with our whole beings. Two perfectly imperfect people making a beautiful family and raising our sweet and amazing girls.
Kobe Bryant and Vanessa Bryant met when he was 21 and she was 17. She was his first girlfriend, and just six months after dating, they were engaged. During the memorial, Vanessa first took time to also pay tribute to her second daughter, Gianna, who died in the same crash on January 26 along with seven other people.
Karyn Wagner was the costume designer behind Allie’s dress in The Notebook. Along with the romance film, she’s also designed for almost 50 projects, including The Green Mile and AMC’s Preacher. She had no idea what became of the dress she made for Rachel McAdams after it was placed in storage after the movie. She told THR her reaction to Vanessa Bryant mentioning it:
I started bawling. I’m still drying the tears off my face. What a beautiful eulogy. I’m so honored that I was able to contribute in some small way to the history of this amazing man.
Also in attendance at Kobe Bryant’s Monday memorial were Jimmy Kimmel (who hosted), Jennifer Lopez, Usher, Alicia Keys, Christina Aguilera, Michael Phelps, Jay Z, Snoop Dogg, Queen Latifah, Magic Johnson, Anthony Davis and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. It was held on the 24th to honor his famed Lakers number.