Kobe And Gianna Bryant Laid To Rest In Private Ceremony

Fans across the globe were devastated upon learning a helicopter carrying basketball legend Kobe Bryant, 41, and his daughter, Gianna "Gigi" Bryant, 13, crashed into a hillside in Calabasas, Calif. on Jan. 26, 2020. Seven other people died in the incident, including Orange Coast College (OCC) baseball coach John Altobelli; his wife, Keri, and their daughter, Alyssa, Christina Mauser, an assistant girls basketball coach, mother-daughter duo Sarah and Payton Chester, and pilot Ara Zobayan. The cause of the accident hasn't been identified at the time of this writing, although investigators have ruled out engine failure.

Since the crash, many of Kobe and Gianna's loved ones have spoken out about the tragedy, including Vanessa Bryant. Vanessa, who married the Lakers alum in 2001, has taken to Instagram to share her pain several times, including a heartbreaking post on Feb. 10, 2020. "My brain refuses to accept that both Kobe and Gigi are gone," she captioned a compilation video of her talented daughter. "I can't process both at the same time. It's like I'm trying to process Kobe being gone but my body refuses to accept my Gigi will never come back to me. It feels wrong."

Understandably, Vanessa — who is also mom to Natalia, Bianka, and Capri Bryant — is struggling to process the deaths. But the mom has reportedly taken steps to begin the grieving process, including having Kobe and Gianna laid to rest in a private ceremony. Here's everything we know about the service.

The Bryant family wanted privacy

Weeks after Gianna and Kobe Bryant's deaths, a private funeral service was reportedly held at Pacific View Memorial Park in Corona Del Mar, Calif., per The Los Angeles Times. The ceremony had been "originally planned for Westwood Village Memorial Park but was changed" for unspecified reasons, the outlet noted."Vanessa and the family wanted a private service to mourn their loss," a source explained to ET Online about the development. "The ceremony was extremely hard for everyone as it's still hard for them to grasp they lost two beautiful souls." 

Of course, it doesn't need to be said that the Bryant family deserved to hold a private funeral for Kobe and Gianna. And for those fans who wish to mourn the late athlete and his equally impressive daughter, they can do so at the planned public memorial at the Los Angeles Staples Center on Feb. 24, 2020. The event will also honor the other seven victims of the crash, per People. In case you didn't know already, the 24 date is significant as it pays tribute to Kobe's jersey number for the Lakers.

Jennifer Hudson will perform at the NBA All-Star Game

In addition to the public memorial for Kobe Bryant and Gianna Bryant, the 2020 NBA All-Star Game on Feb. 16 will honor the father-daughter pair. LeBron James' team will wear number 24 jerseys to honor Kobe, while Giannis Antetokounmpo's team will sport number 2 jerseys in homage of Gianna. "There will also be two commemorative patches on the shoulders honoring former NBA commissioner David Stern and the nine victims of the Jan. 26 helicopter crash," per The Bleacher Report.

To top off the event, American Idol alum Jennifer Hudson will perform a tribute ahead of the players' introductions. The NBA also confirmed in a series of tweets that Chaka Khan will sing the U.S. national anthem ahead of the game, while Chance the Rapper will take the stage at halftime alongside Lil Wayne, DJ Khaled, and Quavo.

It sounds like the NBA is doing a wonderful job of preserving Kobe and Gianna's legacies.

How is the Bryant family coping?

Amid all of these memorials and tributes for Kobe and Gianna Bryant, it's fair to wonder how Vanessa Bryant is coping with the losses. One source claimed to Us Weekly that Vanessa "is incredibly close to her mom and her mom has been her rock throughout the past few weeks." They added, "Her mom is always with her and the girls and she's been keeping Vanessa strong and she's the weight of her support system."

The insider also revealed Vanessa knows "life must go on" despite her heartbreak. "There is no other option, simply put," they said. "Vanessa takes solace in the support of her mom and her sister [Sophie Laine], who are committed to seeing her through this. But at the end of the day, there aren't words to describe her feelings."

It appears the mom-of-four finds some comfort in the legacies the pair left behind, as she noted in a recent Instagram post about Gianna. "My Gigi. I love you! I miss you," she captioned a picture of her daughter's retired basketball jersey. "You've taught us all that no act of kindness is ever too small. Mommy is still and will ALWAYS be so proud of you mamacita."