Alicia Keys performs song Kobe Bryant learned to play for Vanessa Bryant at memorial

Alicia Keys honored Kobe Bryant with a special performance during the memorial ceremony for him and his daughter Gianna Bryant held at the Staples Center. 

The 39-year-old played Beethoven’s “Piano Sonata No. 14,” popularly known as the “Moonlight Sonata,” after Los Angeles Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka explained to the audience what the significance of the song was.

Pelinka shared that Kobe had once told him that he wanted to learn how to play the classical music piece in an effort to do something romantic for his wife, Vanessa Bryant, after he’d been away from her for a long stretch of time while on the road with work.

One night, Kobe told Pelinka on the phone that he “hadn’t been sleeping much” because he was missing Vanessa and his daughters. He “vowed to teach himself — by ear — to play the first movement of Beethoven’s ‘Moonlight Sonata.’”

Pelinka said that the next morning, Bryant had nailed the song’s first few measures and, “by the end of the week, he had the entire piece mastered.” 

“That moment was one of Kobe’s grandest feats,” Pelinka said.

Keys then brought the song to the stadium, alongside a string quartet, in a heartfelt rendition. 

Earlier in the afternoon, Beyoncé also delivered an emotional musical tribute, singing her songs “XO” and “Halo,” telling the Los Angeles crowd of the former: “I’m here because I love Kobe and this was one of his favorite songs.” 

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Celebration of life for Kobe and Gianna Bryant
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Celebration of life for Kobe and Gianna Bryant
People arrive to attend the "Celebration of Life for Kobe and Gianna Bryant" service at Staples Center in Downtown Los Angeles on February 24, 2020. - Kobe Bryant, 41, and 13-year-old Gianna were among nine people killed in a helicopter crash in the rugged hills west of Los Angeles on January 26. (Photo by Frederic J. BROWN / AFP) (Photo by FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP via Getty Images)
Kobe Bryant's wife Vanessa Bryant arrives to speak during the "Celebration of Life for Kobe and Gianna Bryant" service at Staples Center in Downtown Los Angeles on February 24, 2020. - Kobe Bryant, 41, and 13-year-old Gianna were among nine people killed in a helicopter crash in the rugged hills west of Los Angeles on January 26. (Photo by FREDERIC J. BROWN / AFP) (Photo by FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP via Getty Images)
People arrive to attend the "Celebration of Life for Kobe and Gianna Bryant" service at Staples Center in Downtown Los Angeles on February 24, 2020. - Kobe Bryant, 41, and 13-year-old Gianna were among nine people killed in a helicopter crash in the rugged hills west of Los Angeles on January 26. (Photo by Frederic J. BROWN / AFP) (Photo by FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP via Getty Images)
Former NBA player Michael Jordan cries while speaking during a celebration of life for Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna Monday, Feb. 24, 2020, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - FEBRUARY 24: Shaquille O'Neal speaks during The Celebration of Life for Kobe & Gianna Bryant at Staples Center on February 24, 2020 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
Alicia Keys reacts after performing during a celebration of life for Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna Monday, Feb. 24, 2020, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
Vanessa Bryant speaks during a celebration of life for her husband Kobe Bryant and daughter Gianna Monday, Feb. 24, 2020, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - FEBRUARY 24: Los Angeles Lakers General Manager Rob Pelinka speaks during The Celebration of Life for Kobe & Gianna Bryant at Staples Center on February 24, 2020 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - FEBRUARY 24: Christina Aguilera performs during The Celebration of Life for Kobe & Gianna Bryant at Staples Center on February 24, 2020 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - FEBRUARY 24: Anthony Davis of the Los Angeles Lakers attends The Celebration of Life for Kobe & Gianna Bryant at Staples Center on February 24, 2020 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - FEBRUARY 24: Former Los Angeles Laker Metta World Peace attends The Celebration of Life for Kobe & Gianna Bryant at Staples Center on February 24, 2020 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - FEBRUARY 24: Former coach Phil Jackson attends The Celebration of Life for Kobe & Gianna Bryant at Staples Center on February 24, 2020 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
LL Cool J, middle, watches during a celebration of life for Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna Monday, Feb. 24, 2020, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
Kobe Bryant's parents Joe and Pam Bryant arrive for a celebration of life for Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna Monday, Feb. 24, 2020, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
Kobe Bryant's parents Joe and Pam Bryant arrive for a celebration of life for Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna Monday, Feb. 24, 2020, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - FEBRUARY 24: TV personality Jimmy Kimmel speaks during The Celebration of Life for Kobe & Gianna Bryant at Staples Center on February 24, 2020 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - FEBRUARY 24: TV personality Jimmy Kimmel speaks during The Celebration of Life for Kobe & Gianna Bryant at Staples Center on February 24, 2020 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
People arrive to attend the "Celebration of Life for Kobe and Gianna Bryant" service at Staples Center in Downtown Los Angeles on February 24, 2020. - Kobe Bryant, 41, and 13-year-old Gianna were among nine people killed in a helicopter crash in the rugged hills west of Los Angeles on January 26. (Photo by Frederic J. BROWN / AFP) (Photo by FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP via Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - FEBRUARY 24: Jerry West and Steve Ballmer attend The Celebration of Life for Kobe & Gianna Bryant at Staples Center on February 24, 2020 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - FEBRUARY 24: Vanessa Bryant speaks during The Celebration of Life for Kobe & Gianna Bryant at Staples Center on February 24, 2020 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - FEBRUARY 24: Vanessa Bryant speaks during The Celebration of Life for Kobe & Gianna Bryant at Staples Center on February 24, 2020 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - FEBRUARY 24: Vanessa Bryant speaks during The Celebration of Life for Kobe & Gianna Bryant at Staples Center on February 24, 2020 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - FEBRUARY 24: Bill Russell, James Harden and Russell Westbrook attend The Celebration of Life for Kobe & Gianna Bryant at Staples Center on February 24, 2020 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
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 Monday, Feb. 24, 2020, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - FEBRUARY 24: Bill Russell attends The Celebration of Life for Kobe & Gianna Bryant at Staples Center on February 24, 2020 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - FEBRUARY 24: Dwyane Wade and Gabrielle Union attend The Celebration of Life for Kobe & Gianna Bryant at Staples Center on February 24, 2020 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - FEBRUARY 24: Kareem Abdul Jabar during The Celebration of Life for Kobe & Gianna Bryant at Staples Center on February 24, 2020 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - FEBRUARY 24: Alex Rodriguez and Jennifer Lopez depart after The Celebration of Life for Kobe & Gianna Bryant at Staples Center on February 24, 2020 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - FEBRUARY 24: Snoop Dogg attends The Celebration of Life for Kobe & Gianna Bryant at Staples Center on February 24, 2020 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
Kobe Bryant's Lakers jerseys are displayed during the "Celebration of Life for Kobe and Gianna Bryant" service at Staples Center in Downtown Los Angeles on February 24, 2020. - Kobe Bryant, 41, and 13-year-old Gianna were among nine people killed in a helicopter crash in the rugged hills west of Los Angeles on January 26. (Photo by Frederic J. BROWN / AFP) (Photo by FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP via Getty Images)
A mural sits in a parking lot as fans look toward the Staples Center before a public memorial for former Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant and his daughter, Gianna, in Los Angeles, Monday, Feb. 24, 2020. (AP Photo/Kelvin Kuo)
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