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TV hosts pay emotional tributes to Kobe Bryant

Jul 27, 2019; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Kobe Bryant is pictured with his daughter Gianna at the WNBA All Star Game at Mandalay Bay Events Center. Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY

TV hosts pay emotional tributes to Kobe Bryant

Tributes for basketball star Kobe Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna continue to pour in, with many of America’s most prominent TV hosts becoming visibly emotional as they remembered the father and daughter on their shows.

TV hosts pay emotional tributes to Kobe Bryant

Jimmy Fallon gave a moving monologue in which he recalled when he first met Bryant at a party in LA, when the sports star was just 17. The host of The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon said in the years following, he would compare notes on fatherhood with Bryant.

“We’d laugh at how much fun it was to raise kids and all the stupid mistakes we made trying to figure out how to be good dads…and today he and one of his girls are gone,” Fallon said through tears.

Ellen DeGeneres heard the news of Bryant’s death on her birthday. She delivered a tearful monologue in which she said “we don’t know how many birthdays we have”, urging viewers to “celebrate life” and “tell people you love them”.

SportsCenter anchor Elle Duncan recalled meeting Bryant when she was eight months pregnant with her daughter, with Bryant telling her to “be grateful that you’ve been given that gift, because girls are amazing”. When Duncan asked how Bryant would feel to have another daughter, he said, “I would have five more girls if I could. I’m a girl dad.” 

Jimmy Kimmel chose not to go ahead with a show in front of a live studio audience, saying “going forward with a comedy show didn’t feel right”. Kimmel described Bryant as a hero, and said the basketball star “checked in with me repeatedly” after his son Billy had emergency heart surgery.

Conan O’Brien chose to emphasise Bryant’s great sense of humour, and said he was “naturally very funny and charming”. O’Brien said whenever Bryant was on his show, “he was a joy to talk with and he always had the audience in the palm of his hand”.

Late Late Show host James Corden recalled Bryant’s appearance on his show in 2016, and how he “couldn’t stop talking about how excited he was to have all this free time to devote to his family and to coach his daughters” in retirement.

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