A day before the public celebration of life for Kobe Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna, who were killed alongside seven other victims in a tragic helicopter crash on Jan. 26, basketball fans noticed an eerie coincidence during the Los Angeles Lakes and Boston Celtics game. With 2:24 left on the clock — Kobe and Gianna's jersey numbers — both teams had scored 81 points, the exact number Kobe alone scored on the Raptors in a legendary 2006 game.
Another nod to Kobe's jersey number was seen as the shot clock was stopped at 24, and even the number of combined timeouts added up to Kobe's original Lakers jersey number of 8.
The Lakers managed to pull out a win at the end with 114 points to the Celtics' 112, which seemed like the perfect way to lead into Monday's emotional ceremony, held at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. It will surely be an emotional time for Kobe's widow, Vanessa Bryant, who opened up about the grief she was feeling on Instagram earlier this month.
"I've been reluctant to put my feelings into words. My brain refuses to accept that both Kobe and Gigi are gone," Vanessa's message began. "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."
"Why should I be able to wake up another day when my baby girl isn't being able to have that opportunity?!" she continued. "I'm so mad. She had so much life to live. Then I realize I need to be strong and be here for my 3 daughters. Mad I'm not with Kobe and Gigi but thankful I'm here with Natalia, Bianka and Capri."
Vanessa added that she knew her feelings were all a "normal" part of the grieving process, but noted, "I just wanted to share in case there's anyone out there that's experienced a loss like this."
"God I wish they were here and this nightmare would be over," she concluded. "Praying for all of the victims of this horrible tragedy. Please continue to pray for all."
The celebration of life public memorial for the Bryants is being held at the Staples Center Monday at 10 a.m. PT. The service will also be live-streamed for those who weren't able to purchase tickets. Click here for more info.
Photo credit: Harry How / Staff, Getty