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LeBron James Praises ‘Strong’ Vanessa Bryant Amid Rumors He Didn’t Attend Kobe Bryant’s Memorial

LeBron James is still in awe of Vanessa Bryant. The 35-year-old basketball star praised Kobe Bryant’s widow amid rumors that he didn’t attend the late athlete’s public memorial.

Related: Kobe Bryant and Daughter Gianna Bryant Honored at Public Memorial Service: See Pics

“One thing I can come out of it saying is how strong and how bold and how powerful Vanessa is,” James told reporters at the Los Angeles Lakers informal practice on Tuesday, February 25, according to Sports Illustrated. “To stand up there the way she did, to give that speech the way she gave that speech. I commend her. My heart is with their family still. With his three daughters that are still here. 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.”

LeBron James and Vanessa Bryant Mediapunch/Shutterstock; Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP/Shutterstock

Vanessa, 37, took the stage at the Staples Center on Monday, February 24, to speak about Kobe and their 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, who also died in the tragic helicopter accident last month.

Related: Kobe Bryant’s Fatal Helicopter Crash: Everything We Know

“They were so easy to love. They were funny, happy, silly, and they loved life,” the former model, who also shared daughters Natalia, 17, Bianka, 3, and Capri, 8 months, with Kobe, said. “They were so full of joy and adventure. God knew they couldn’t be on this earth without each other. He had to bring them home to have them together.”

While  Shaquille O’NealKim KardashianKanye WestDwyane Wade, Gabrielle UnionJennifer Lopez and Alex Rodriguez. were among the celebrities and athletes spotted at the service, James didn’t directly answer a question about his whereabouts on Tuesday.

“Like I said man, it’s just, I respect your question for sure, but it’s very emotional,” he told reporters. “A very emotional day. A very tough day for myself, for my family, for everyone involved.”

Days after Kobe’s passing, James gave a speech of his own during the first Los Angeles Lakers game after the tragedy.

“As I look around this arena, we’re all grieving, we’re all hurt, we’re all heartbroken, but when we’re going through things like this, the best thing you can do is lean on the shoulders of your family,” James said on January 31. “Everybody that’s here, this is truly, truly a family. I know Kobe and Gianna and Vanessa and everybody thank you guys from the bottom of their heart, as Kobe said.”

Related: Vanessa Bryant’s Sweetest Motherhood Moments Following Kobe Bryant’s Death

The former Cleveland Cavaliers star got visibly emotional during his tribute.

“This is a celebration of the 20 years of the blood, the sweat, the tears, the broken down body, the getting up, the sitting — everything — the countless hours, the determination to be as great as he could be,” James said. “Tonight, we celebrate the kid that came here at 18 years of age, retired at 38 and became probably the best dad that we’ve seen over the last three years.”

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