Everyone — every single person — that took the stage at a memorial service for Kobe and Gianna Bryant in Los Angeles on Tuesday morning spoke beautifully and courageously.

But perhaps the loudest ovation was when the greatest basketball player of all time Michael Jordan took the stage to talk about his "little brother" with tears streaming down his face.

Everyone — every single person — that took the stage at a memorial service for Kobe and Gianna Bryant in Los Angeles on Tuesday morning spoke beautifully and courageously.

But perhaps the loudest ovation was when the greatest basketball player of all time Michael Jordan took the stage to talk about his "little brother" with tears streaming down his face.

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"Everyone always wanted to talk about the comparisons between he and I," Jordan said. "I just wanted to talk about Kobe."

"This kid had passion like you would never know," he added. "When Kobe Bryant died, a piece of me died."

Jordan brought the house down when he acknowledged the steady flow of tears would likely result in another "Crying Jordan" meme.

"I told my wife I wasn't going to do this because I didn't want to see this for the next three or four years," Jordan said, to huge applause. "That is what Kobe Bryant does to me."

A photograph of Jordan crying during his acceptance speech after being inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame is an internet favourite.

Vanessa Bryant is helped off the stage by former NBA player Michael Jordan after speaking during a celebration of life for her husband Kobe Bryant and daughter Gianna. Photo / AP
Vanessa Bryant is helped off the stage by former NBA player Michael Jordan after speaking during a celebration of life for her husband Kobe Bryant and daughter Gianna. Photo / AP

Sporting legends, entertainment figures and fans have gathered to pay their respects where Bryant played.

Shaquille O'Neal, who won three championships with Bryant at the Lakers but had a tumultuous relationship with him while they were playing together, also delivered some gold.

"The day Kobe gained my respect was a day the guys were complaining. They said 'Shaq, Kobe's not passing the ball'," O'Neal said.

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"I said, 'I'll talk to him'. I said, 'Kobe, there's no I in team'. He said, 'I know, but there's a M-E in that motherf*****'."

Beyonce Knowles — a close friend of Kobe — opened today's service for the basketball legend and his daughter with a stunning rendition of XO.

"I'm here because I love Kobe — and this is one of his favourite songs," Beyonce said.

Backed by a choir, the pop star transitioned to Halo, before Jimmy Kimmel took the stage to speak and battled to fight back tears.

But emotions soared even higher when Vanessa took the stage and began speaking about "Gigi, my baby girl".

"Gianna Bryant is an amazing sweet and gentle soul," Vanessa said. "She always kissed me good night and kissed me good morning."

Vanessa broke down talking about never having the opportunity to teach her daughter to drive a car, get married and have "babies of her own".

"Gianna would have been an amazing mother ... (and) likely would have become the best player in the WNBA," she said. "She would have made a huge difference for women's basketball."

Showing remarkable poise, Vanessa then spoke about her great love, who she met as a 17-year-old. "He was the MVP of girl dads," she said. "He never left the toilet seat up. He always told the girls how smart and beautiful they are."

In closing, she said: "God knew they couldn't be on this Earth without each other. He had to bring them home to heaven together."

WNBA legend Diana Taurasi, college hoops star Sabrina Ionescu, University of Connecticut women's basketball coach Geno Auriemma and LA Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka — and Bryant's best friend — also spoke before Alicia Keys played Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata — Bryant's favourite song — on the piano.

Lakers fans filed into Staples Centre hours early to remember Bryant and his daughter Gianna, who were killed along with seven others in a helicopter crash last month.

The arena where Bryant played featured a stage surrounded by thousands of red roses below the scoreboard that's showing images of Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter.

Fans arriving for Monday's public memorial service were given a program that only contains photos, a purple KB pin and a T-shirt with photos of the father and daughter.

The concourse was a sea of purple, gold and black clothing.