The whole world is mourning the loss of one of basketball’s legendary greats, Kobe Bryant.
The 41-year-old athlete was killed in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California, together with his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, and seven other passengers, according to authorities.
The 2020 Grammy Awards was held at the Staples Center, the arena where the Los Angeles Lakers legend brightly shone for two decades, wowing fans and players alike with his undeniable skill in the sport.
The performers and host of the event held on Sunday night paid tribute to the court star.
Lizzo opened the primetime telecast with a shoutout to the ‘Black Mamba’, declaring “Tonight is for Kobe!” before performing a medley of her hits songs “Cuz I Love You” and “Truth Hurts”.
Singer Alicia Keys, the host of the 62nd Grammy Awards, followed Lizzo with a heartfelt tribute of her own. She took a moment to reflect on the untimely demise of Bryant and his daughter.
“Here we are together on music’s biggest night celebrating the artists that do it best. But to be honest with you, we’re all feeling crazy sadness right now because earlier today Los Angeles, America and the whole wide world lost a hero,” she said. “And we are literally standing here heartbroken in the house that Kobe Bryant built.”
She asked the attendees “to take a moment and just hold them inside of you,” before launching into a moving rendition of “It’s So Hard to Say Goodbye” with Boyz II Men.
After the song ended, Keys said: “I love you, Kobe.”
The interim Recording Academy CEO, Harvey Mason Jr., also called for a moment of silence in Bryant’s honor during the pre-telecast ceremony of the event.
The site of the ceremony also featured a subtle nod to Bryant. During the show, the number 8 and 24 jerseys that the player wore during his basketball career remained illuminated throughout the show. The on-display jerseys are typically dimmed during non-sports events, so the decision was a clear tribute to Bryant.
As the news of his death broke, legions of fans gathered outside Staples Center later in the day to pay their respect to the five-time champion in front of a makeshift memorial with flowers, candles, signs, and Laker items.
Bryant is the son of former NBA player, Joe Bryant, and is considered as one of the most accomplished NBA players, having played all 20 seasons with the Los Angeles Lakers. He was the third-leading scorer in NBA history with 33,643 points until Saturday when he was surpassed by another basketball superstar, LeBron James.
Bryant is survived by his wife Vanessa, 37, and three of their four children: daughters Natalia, 17, Bianka, 3, and Capri, 7 months.
Aside from being one of the greatest basketball players of all time, Bryant’s loved ones knew him as an amazing family man and a good friend. Everyone who knew him, even those who only had a brief encounter with him, had nothing but good words to say about the star. His loss affected people all over the world, and it didn’t even matter if they were a basketball fan or not. It is a testament to how accomplished Bryant was and what an incredible life he lived while he was still with us.
It is the type of news that we never want to hear, and we could only hope and pray that the family he left behind is equipped with a great support system that will bring them comfort during this devastating time.
Heroes come and go, but legends are forever.
Rest in peace Kobe Bryant, you will forever be in our hearts.