6:27 PM PT -- Vanessa just shared the scene from Gianna's jersey retirement ceremony at her private school.
Vanessa says, "My Gigi. I love you! I miss you. You've taught us all that no act of kindness is ever too small. Mommy is still and will ALWAYS be so proud of you mamacita."
3:32 PM PT -- Vanessa just made a new post about Gianna -- saying, "My Gianna. God I miss you."
"I’ve been so lucky to have woken up to see your gorgeous face and amazing smile for 13 years. Wish it would’ve been until my last breath."
"Mommy loves you to the moon and back. Infinity plus 1. #2 #Mambacita #GigiBryant."
"Miss you so much"
Vanessa went to Instagram on Wednesday to post about her husband -- referring to Kobe as "my best friend" and saying she misses all of the funny, sweet little things he would do during their marriage.
"Miss you saying, 'Bonjourno principessa/reina'" Vanessa wrote ... referencing Kobe's ability to speak Italian.
"#mybestfriend #theBestdaddy Miss you so much. #handsome #sweet #funny #silly #lovinghusband ❤️Miss you saying, “Bonjourno principessa/reina."
Vanessa also posted a clip from a recent "Extra" interview in which Kobe was asked to name his best friend -- and he responded, "My wife."
Just a few days ago, Vanessa posted a painting of her daughter Gianna Bryant dressed up in Lakers gear -- and wrote, "Seeing my babygirl smile and happy again with a basketball 🏀 under her arm, wrapped in 💜💛love just warmed my heart."
Originally Published -- 9:50 AM PT
Kirk passed Wednesday. Kirk's health had been in decline. In 1996 he suffered a stroke but recovered most of his faculties. Last time we saw him enjoying life was in April 2019 when he was "camping" in his grandson's backyard.
Michael told People, "It is with tremendous sadness that my brothers and I announce that Kirk Douglas left us today at the age of 103. To the world, he was a legend, an actor from the golden age of movies who lived well into his golden years, a humanitarian whose commitment to justice and the causes he believed in set a standard of us all to aspire to."
Michael ended it this way ... "But to me and my brothers Joel and Peter he was simply Dad, to Catherine, a wonderful father-in-law, to his grandchildren and great-grandchildren their loving grandfather, and to his wife Anne, a wonderful husband."
Kirk's appeared in a few minor Broadway productions in the '40s but then put his career on hold and enlisted in the U.S. Navy in 1941. After several years of service, Kirk returned to theater, but his best work came on the big screen.
The famed actor and producer earned critical acclaim for his role in the 1960 classic, "Spartacus." In "Spartacus," Kirk gave onscreen credit to blacklisted screenwriter Dalton Trumbo. Kirk's move started the dissolution of the infamous blacklisting policies that had begun nearly a decade prior.
Kirk was nominated for an Oscar for Best Actor in 1949 for his role as boxer Midge Kelly in "Champion." He also earned 2 Oscar nominations as a producer for "The Bad and the Beautiful" in 1953 and "Lust for Life" in 1957.
He acted alongside John Wayne in 3 films -- "In Harm's Way," "Cast a Giant Shadow" and "The War Wagon." He also shared screen time with one Arnold Schwarzenegger ... in the 1979 film "The Villain" and with Farrah Fawcett in the sci-fi flick, "Saturn 3."
Fun fact ... Kirk once earned a $50k paycheck for saying the only English word at the end of a 1980s Japanese TV commercial: Coffee.
Kirk survived a helicopter crash in 1991. Two other passengers were killed and Kirk was left with a terrible back injury. He also did tons of humanitarian work ... serving as a Goodwill Ambassador for the U.S. State Department.
He received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1981 by President Jimmy Carter. France also honored Kirk with the prestigious Chevalier of the Legion of Honour. The Academy Awards also honored him with an honorary Oscar in 1995.
Kirk -- once voted the 36th greatest movie star of all time by Entertainment Weekly -- was born Issur Danielovitch in Amsterdam, New York to Russian parents who came to the states in 1912. Kirk married Diana Dill in 1943 and they had two sons -- Michael and Joel. Kirk and Diana divorced in 1951. He later married Anne Buydens in 1954 after meeting her when she applied for a job as his assistant on the film, "Act of Love." Kirk and Anne had two more sons ... Peter and Eric, who died in 2004.
Kirk's survived by Anne, children Michael, Joel and Peter and seven grandchildren.
He was 103. RIP.
12:51 PM PT -- Shareef just posted pictures of the nearly-finished tattoos ... and they feature Kobe's brand logo, a silhouette of Kobe mid-jump shot, the #8 and #24, Gianna's "Mamba" jersey and the words, "Mamba Mentality."
Shareef says the art will be getting background ink soon.
As we previously reported, Shaq's son became VERY close with the Bryants -- he basically viewed Kobe as an uncle.
Shareef has been deeply affected by their deaths and has been searching for ways to pay tribute to the Bryants. He's been posting a lot on social media. He went to the Bryant tribute at Staples Center. And now, he's inking their numbers on his leg.
Check out the pic ... you can see Gigi's #2 jersey she rocked for her Mamba Academy team. He also added Kobe's #8 and #24, the two numbers he wore with the Lakers.
Originally Published -- 6:32 AM PT
But, Howard says he's spent the entire 2019-20 season trying to prove to Mamba that he's a winner ... and he's devastated that KB won't be around to see him achieve his goal.
"There are nights where I just cry myself to sleep just thinking about it," Howard told reporters Tuesday after the Lakers beat the Spurs.
"It was just really hard, 'cause for me, a lot of people thought me and Kobe hated each other and stuff like that and there were times where we just didn't understand each other ... and I didn't get a chance to tell him how appreciative I was for our time together and how thankful I was to be back here in L.A. and stuff like that."
Dwight continued ... "All year long I wanted to show him that I was going to do whatever it takes to help this team win. I've been wearing his shoes since the season started. I wanted him [to help me] in the dunk contest and all these things."
Howard says the whole situation still doesn't feel real -- but he'll do his best to honor Kobe's memory by balling out like Kobe would want.
An autographed box score sheet from the night Kobe Bryant scored 81 points has just hit the auction block -- and some of the proceeds will go to the families of the helicopter crash victims.
The rare document was personally signed by Bryant in blue ballpoint pen shortly after he dropped the incredible figure on the Toronto Raptors in that legendary 2006 performance.
You can see in the doc -- which, according to Goldin Auctions, was only given out to media members, players and staffers after the game -- Kobe was a flat-out BEAST during the Jan. 22 matchup.
Bryant took 46 shots and added 20 free throw attempts ... dropping 81 points with just 3 turnovers. What's even more incredible is only 2 other Lakers scored more than 10 points!
Of course, Bryant's squad won the game -- a sellout at Staples Center -- and Kobe said of it all afterward he couldn't have have imagined dropping that much "not even in my dreams."
We're told a portion of the proceeds from the auction will be donated to the MambaOnThree Fund -- a charity set up to help the families of the other passengers that died in the tragic helicopter crash that killed Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, on Jan. 26.
Bidding on the amazing piece has already begun (it's currently at $1,500) ... and is expected to stay open until later this month.
Got the itch for some old school hip-hop vibes? Ya better be rich 'cause that's what it'll take to land this Vibe poster ... signed by The Notorious B.I.G. and Puff Daddy on the night Biggie was tragically gunned down.
The folks over at Moments in Time are brokering the sale of this 2-foot by 3-foot poster of the iconic September 1996 Vibe magazine cover ... featuring Biggie and Puffy. It was signed at an industry party hosted by Quincy Jones' Vibe magazine on March 8, 1997, at the Petersen Automotive Museum in L.A.
We're told a record executive brought the poster with him that night and had Biggie and Puffy sign it. But, just hours later -- after the party was shut down at 12:35 AM by fire marshals citing overcrowding -- Biggie was shot 4 times in a drive-by while at a red light on Fairfax and Wilshire Blvds. He was pronounced dead at 1:15 A.M.
Fast-forward to the present ... the son of the record executive is unloading the poster and the asking price is a cool $54k. The memorabilia also includes Biggie's itinerary for his west coast trip as well as the party's invitation.
Calling all true players ...
Not only have MILLIONS of people signed a petition to have the league swap out the current logo which features an image of Jerry West, but a bunch of NBA stars have backed it as well ... from Paul Pierce to Jamal Crawford and more.
As for Cuban, he's already honored Kobe by retiring the #24 jersey in the Mavs organization (despite Kobe never playing for Dallas) ... and now he's down for an even bigger tribute.
"I just think it's so much more than basketball," Cuban told us ... "He brought so many people together."
Unclear exactly what it would take to get the league to make the move, but having one of the league's most influential owners get behind the push seems pretty significant to us.
Stay tuned ...
Mr. Worldwide sang "Give Me Everything," and then launched into his commentary, saying Kobe's memory will endure. He then went into a diatribe over the cauldron of hate known as social media.
Diddy followed suit, performing "I'll Be Missing You" as images of Kobe filled the venue. He also performed "Mo Money Mo Problems" with his son, Justin.
Shaq, of course, delivered a moving, personal tribute to Kobe. As the crowd chanted Kobe's name -- led by Shaq -- the video chronicled the incredible partnership between the 2 basketball greats who together were an unbeatable duo. BTW, Shaq also showed off his DJ skills, which are considerable.
DaBaby jumped on stage next to Shaq -- who looks massive by comparison -- and performed "Bop." He was in some hot water last month -- he was arrested and charged with battery for allegedly attacking and robbing a club promoter. That case is pending.
9:20 PM PT -- Vanessa Bryant posted a photo of Kobe and Gigi's jerseys court side at Staples, writing ... "There is no #24 without #2. #GirlDaddy #DaddysGirl #MyBabies #OurAngels
9:15 PM PT -- Wiz Khalifa and Charlie Puth performed an emotional rendition of their hit, "See You Again" at halftime.
8:55 PM PT -- The love sent to the Bryant family was felt by Kobe's widow, Vanessa -- she posted purple and gold hearts on her Instagram story shortly after the Lakers' tribute.
The Los Angeles Lakers honored the late Kobe Bryant with a tribute before the first game following his death ... with emotional performances by Usher and cellist Ben Hong ... and a powerful speech by LeBron James.
The Lakers superstar took center court to address the fans in attendance ... and spoke straight from the heart, calling Kobe his brother and the event a celebration of his career.
"I got something written down, they asked me to kinda stay on course, or whatever the case may be," LeBron said. "But Laker Nation, I would be selling y'all short if I read off this sh*t, so I'ma go straight from the heart."
"I look at this as a celebration tonight. This is a celebration of the 20 years of the blood, the sweat, the tears, the broken-down body, the getting up, the sitting down, the everything, the countless hours, the determination to be as great as you could be."
"I wanna continue along with my teammates to continue his legacy. Not only for this year, but as long as we can play the game of basketball that we love, because that's what Kobe Bryant would want."
James finished his speech with the message -- "So in the words of Kobe Bryant, 'Mamba Out' ... but in the words of us, 'Not forgotten.' Live on, brother."
Prior to LBJ's words, Usher performed a strong rendition of "Amazing Grace" while the video board showed a montage of the tributes that have popped up throughout the world, and Hong played while Bryant's on-and-off the court accomplishments flashed on the screen for all the fans to enjoy.
The Lakers then posted the names of all 9 people lost in the tragic helicopter accident and honored them with a 24.2 second moment of silence while the board showed the 2 courtside seats draped with Kobe and Gigi's jerseys.
Boyz II Men performed the National Anthem ... with all 3 members wearing the Kobe shirts handed out to every fan in attendance. Several players -- including LeBron -- broke down in tears during the performance.
The Lakers players honored Kobe by wearing Kobe's #8 and #24 jerseys during warmups ... and each player was announced as Kobe Bryant for the starting lineups.
LeBron wore Kobe's signature shoes, which might be the first time he's worn anything other than his own sneakers in an NBA game.
The Lakers and Portland Trail Blazers followed other teams' lead by opening the game with 24-second shot clock and 8-second violations.
Kobe's #8 and #24 were displayed on the court ... as well as a "KB" badge on the players' jerseys.
The fans were shouting Kobe's name outside Staples before entering the arena ... and we have video of the emotional scene.
Carmelo Anthony -- who was very close with Kobe -- did not make the trip because he's still mourning Kobe's death.
James revealed his permanent tribute to Kobe before the game, a tattoo that reads "Mamba 4 Life."
The memorials outside Staples continued to pour through LA Live on Friday ... and TMZ Sports was able to capture some of them.
Originally Published -- 6:21 PM PT
Our sources tell us Justin's team reached out to Idiot Box Art owners Emily Bright and Tamara Martin to purchase their newest original piece honoring Kobe ... and the Biebs snagged one for only $1,200.
The cartoon art -- depicting a teddy bear wearing Kobe's #8 Lakers jersey over a Mamba hoodie and some Nikes -- is made of hand-cut wood covered in acrylic paint and finished with a coat of resin. The piece is one of 5 created, and it's 41.5 inches X 24 inches.
We're told the Kobe art sold out in a few hours ... so the artists are making miniature versions for $200 a pop, and they're going on sale February 6 and 7 with 24 percent of profits going to the MambaOnThree Fund.
How cool is this?!?
"Absolutely!!!" Sly says.
It'd be an amazing tribute ... while Kobe never played for the Sixers -- he grew up in Philly and starred at local Lower Merion HS as a teenager.
Kobe never shied away from his love for Philly despite playing his entire pro career in L.A. -- even reppin' the Eagles in his final appearance at a Lakers game at Staples before his death on Dec. 29.
Tributes have come in all shapes and sizes since the 41-year-old's passing ... with NBA teams taking shot clock violations, players writing personal messages on their shoes and Staples Center plaza being packed with mourning fans.
But, a bronze bust right next to Rocky? Ya gotta think that might just top 'em all ... and now the city just got Sly's blessing for it.
4:27 PM PT -- 1/31 -- LeBron just posted a close-up of his new Kobe ink ... and it features a black mamba, Bryant's 24 and 8 numbers, two roses and the phrase "Mamba 4 Life."
"My brother," LeBron said of the new pic of the art. "#Mamba4Life #RIPKobe #RIPGiGi"
Both LeBron and Anthony Davis hit up tattoo artist Vanessa Aurelia on Wednesday looking to pay tribute to Kobe with some fresh ink.
Fast-forward to Thursday morning ... when Bron and the Lakers were working out in front of the Lakers facility in El Segundo and gave the media a sneak peek at his new art.
The tat is still under wraps but it appears he's got a black mamba snake with some words underneath. Some people in the office think it reads, "Kobe 4 Life" but it's really hard to tell.
We're told Bron plans to do a big reveal on his Instagram soon -- most likely before he takes the court on Friday when the Lakers take on the Portland Trail Blazers at Staples Center.
Originally Published -- 1/30 1:43 PM PT
5:42 PM PT -- The Lakers have set aside 2 seats in honor of Kobe and Gigi, who watched many NBA games courtside. Each seat is draped in Kobe and Gigi's jerseys and features a set of roses.
Gigi's Mamba Sports Academy teammates will be in attendance for the game.
2:35 PM PT -- The Lakers will honor Kobe with his #8 and #24 added to the court design ... as well as his initials on the baseline. The players will wear a jersey patch with the same design.
Everyone who attends the Lakers game Friday night will get a free Kobe Bryant tribute shirt, courtesy of the team ... 20,000 in total.
The hard-working people at Staples Center have draped a Kobe shirt on every single seat -- half of the arena will get Kobe #8 shirts. The other half will get #24 shirts.
It's just one part of the Kobe Bryant tributes at Staples on Friday -- the first game for the Lakers since Kobe passed away on Sunday.
There will be a moment of silence, visual tributes to Kobe around the arena and we're told some players are considering addressing the crowd ... but nothing is set in stone yet.
Tickets for Friday's game against the Portland Trail Blazers are already rising in value -- with the cheapest tickets just to get in the building hovering around $800 on the secondary ticket market.
We're expecting to see a massive turnout both inside and outside Staples Center -- where Kobe played for nearly all of his 20 years with the Lakers (the Lakers previously played at The Forum).
Tonight will be emotional. In fact, Carmelo Anthony -- who was very close with Kobe -- did not make the trip because he's still mourning Kobe's death.
Originally Published -- 1:26 PM PT
NASCAR driver John Andretti -- member of one of the biggest families in racing -- died on Thursday after a 3-year battle with cancer, his team announced.
The 56-year-old had a long career on the track -- spanning from 17 years in NASCAR to Champ Car to IndyCar and more.
Andretti was diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer back in 2017 ... and used his platform to help others with his disease and spread awareness on getting proper screening.
Andretti Autosport released a statement on his passing ... saying, "John was a loving husband and father, a devoted son and a trusted cousin."
"He was a philanthropist, an advocate for the sport, a dedicated teammate, a driven competitor and most importantly a dear friend."
The statement continued ... "We will forever carry with us John's genuine spirit of helping others first and himself second. Our prayers today are with Nancy, Jarett, Olivia, and Amelia, with our entire family, and with fans worldwide."
Kobe Bryant Blvd?
It's certainly possible ... we're told L.A. City officials are having discussions on how to honor the late Lakers superstar and naming a street after Kobe is definitely up for consideration.
Look, no official decisions have been made -- it's still early in the process -- but we're told L.A. City Council members have already started the conversation.
One source tells us something that keeps getting brought up is some sort of tribute in the L.A. Live area -- right across from Staples Center, where Kobe balled out for nearly 20 years.
We're told there should be more clarity about the plans early next week -- but it's definitely top of mind.
The Lakers will return to Staples Center on Friday to take on the Portland Trail Blazers ... the first game at Kobe's home court since his death on Sunday.
We're told the turn out is expected to be massive ... and that the Lakers are planning several tributes to the Mamba, his daughter, Gianna, and the other 7 people who died in Sunday's helicopter crash.
In the meantime, tributes are popping up all over the L.A. area ... even at Santa Anita Race Track where the statue of legendary racehorse Seabiscuit was draped in a Kobe banner.
Jeanie has known Kobe ever since her father (the late Jerry Buss) signed him as a rookie back in 1996 and they had remained extremely close ever since.
Jeanie took Kobe's death extremely hard and waited several days to collect her thoughts before putting out a statement ... and what she produced is touching, sad and inspirational all at the same time.
"Kobe, I don’t know how to express what you mean to me, my family and the Los Angeles Lakers," Buss wrote ... "My father loved you like a son, which makes us family."
"When you invited me to lunch shortly after my father passed away [in 2013], I was struggling to find motivation and purpose," Buss admits.
"Kobe, you brought Gianna with you to spend some time with me. You explained that you wanted to show her that women can be leaders in the NBA, just like the men."
"At first, it seemed like an action of a devoted father setting an example for his daughter. But in actuality -- and I am positively sure you knew EXACTLY what you were doing -- what you did was give me the inspiration and strength I was searching for. I reflect on that day often and it makes me smile and it makes me strong."
Jeanie continued ... "I call on that memory whenever I feel down and need a bit of courage. For everything you did on the court that filled me with so much joy and love, for all the lives you changed through basketball itself, it was that day with Gigi that reignited my drive and determination."
"Vanessa, Natalia, Bianka, and Capri - I am so sorry for your loss. We are grateful to have you in our lives and we will always be here for you."
"To the families that also lost loved ones on Sunday, the entire Laker family mourns with you. Laker Nation - we are one family grieving the loss of people we all loved dearly. We will mourn together, cry together but we will also heal together, love together and win TOGETHER. We love you."
Originally Published -- 10:00 AM PT
3:33 PM PT -- Lakers GM and Kobe's former agent, Rob Pelinka -- who was also Gianna Bryant's godfather -- also penned an emotional statement Thursday on Bryant's passing.
"On Sunday, I lost my best friend and my sweet goddaughter," Rob wrote. "With that, there has been an amputation of part of my soul."
Pelinka added, "All of us touched by them will now try to become torch carriers of their legacies. And, while we do that, we can be certain of this: Kobe and Gigi will continue on, forever, playing a joy-filled game of basketball in heaven above."