Following Monday's memorial for Kobe Bryant and Gianna Bryant, LeBron James sent a message of support to Bryant's parents, Joe and Pam Bryant, as well as the rest of Bryant's family, while speaking to reporters ahead of the Los Angeles Lakers' game against the New Orleans Pelicans on Tuesday night.
"My heart is with their family still. With his three daughters that are still here," James shared. "With his wife. With his mom and dad and his sisters. It was just a very difficult day. Obviously a celebration, but it was a difficult day for all of us. So I appreciate it."
It's unclear whether James attended the memorial, which included speeches from fellow NBA stars Michael Jordan and Shaquille O'Neal as well as a eulogy from Bryant's wife, Vanessa Bryant. James avoided the question of whether he had been present but praised Vanessa for her strength in speaking.
"I respect your question, for sure, but it's very emotional. A very emotional day. A very tough day for myself, for my family, for everyone involved," he said. "One thing I can come out of it saying is how strong and how bold and how powerful Vanessa is. To stand up there the way she did, to give that speech the way she gave that speech. I commend her."
James expressed a wish for the questioning to "move on to tonight," but he was then asked if the memorial provided any kind of closure for the Lakers.
"It's never a closure. It's never going to be a closure," James replied. "I mean, we continue to live on his legacy and continue to have our hearts heavy with both sadness and with happiness for his family that are still here. So it's not a closure. But it was a celebration which was well received from not only the Laker faithful, not only the family here, but everybody around the world."
Kobe and Gianna's memorial also included speeches from Kobe's mentee Sabrina Ionescu, University of Connecticut women's basketball coach Geno Auriemma. Beyoncé opened the ceremony with a performance of her songs "XO" and "Halo," the former of which she described as one of Kobe's favorite songs, Alicia Keys performed Beethoven's "Moonlight Sonata," which Kobe once learned to play as a tribute to his wife, and Christina Aguilera sang a rendition of "Ave Maria" in Italian, the basketball legend's second language.
Photo Credit: Getty / Katelyn Mulcahy