The celebration of life memorial for Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna was held at Staples Center on Monday, providing thousands with the opportunity to mourn in person. Considering that LeBron James and Bryant were close, fans were expecting to spot him in the crowd. One figure in a hooded sweatshirt appeared to be James, but it was actually a different player.
That’s Ron Artest who sat behind ADs right side and in front of Vogel...LBJ would not have come to Kobe’s Memorial covered up and without Savannah...No reports show or state LBJ attended🤷🏽♂️ pic.twitter.com/3Aqv1nHAgQ— Marv Marc (@MarvMarc1) February 25, 2020
Several photos surfaced on social media that showed what appeared to be James sitting in the crowd. The image was blurry, but there were many fans declaring that the Los Angeles Lakers star was, in fact, sitting among those dressed in suits. However, it was later revealed that the person in question was Metta World Peace, previously known as Ron Artest.
The former Los Angeles Lakers and Indiana Pacers star was shown sitting near former coach Phil Jackson. Metta World Peace had on a sweatshirt with an image of Bryant and Gianna, and he had his face partially hidden by a hood.
Despite a Getty Images photo identifying the individual as Metta World Peace, there were still some on social media that felt James was the man in the hooded sweatshirt. After all, several news outlets had reported that the Lakers star was indeed in attendance, although no images have surfaced of him at the event.
"Appreciate the effort but why is this an issue. Let him grieve how he wants too. In attendance or not," one frustrated fan wrote on social media. They had witnessed the back-and-forth arguments about James and whether or not he was in attendance. At this point, they just wanted the discussion to end.
The arguments continued as several users posted another photo from the crowd. This blurry image showed someone that they identified as James sitting next to Rich Paul and Jason Kidd. Although there were no clear images that fully showed this attendee's identity.
Whether or not this was actually James was unknown following the memorial service, but the discussions continued. Several fans wanted to determine if the Lakers star had attended the memorial service, and they continued to search through images in order to find just a glimpse of James.
(Photo Credit: Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images)