VIDEO: Music stars pay tribute to Kobe Bryant at Grammys award show

Music artists including Billy Ray Cyrus, Rick Ross and Kirk Franklin paid tribute to Bryant

From the red carpet to the main stage, sadness loomed over music’s biggest night Sunday at the arena in downtown Los Angeles where Kobe Bryant played for 20 years for the city’s NBA team.

Bryant’s death in a helicopter crash earlier in the day was acknowledged in the opening minutes of the Grammys broadcast. Before her performance, Lizzo said, “This is for Kobe.” She went on to perform “Truth Hurts” and “Cuz I Love You.”

Host Alicia Keys said she was feeling “crazy sad” about Bryant. She was joined on stage with Boyz II Men, who collectively sang “It’s So Hard to Say Goodbye to Yesterday.”

“The whole wide world lost a hero,” the singer said in front of the audience. “We are standing here literally heartbroken in the house that Kobe Bryant built.”

Bryant, his 13-year-old daughter Gianna, and seven others were killed in the crash on a steep hillside in dense morning fog in Southern California. He was 41 and had retired from the Lakers in 2016.

Some shed tears for Bryant on the red carpet. Others were almost speechless ahead of the 62nd annual awards show.

Music artists including Billy Ray Cyrus, Rick Ross and Kirk Franklin paid tribute to Bryant, the 18-time NBA All-Star and five-time champion. Debbie Allen, who is married to former Laker Norm Nixon, was seen crying.

DJ Khaled said the news about Bryant’s death was “devastating.” He took part in a tribute to the late Nipsey Hussle that also included John Legend, Meek Mill, Kirk Franklin, Roddy Ricch and YG. They performed “Letter to Nipsey” and “Higher.”

READ MORE: Kobe Bryant, daughter killed in California helicopter crash

At the end of the performance, each performer turned around and pointed toward a screen with a picture of Hussle and Bryant. The tribute prompted a standing ovation that lasted for more than a minute.

“Long live Nip. Long live Kobe Bryant. Long live Gianna. The marathon continues,” Khaled said.

Tyler, the Creator said he went through different emotions.

“The news was heavy, especially being in LA and being near the Staples Center within a short period of time between him and Nipsey,” he said backstage after winning best rap album. Hussle, who was known for being a huge Lakers fan, was shot and killed 10 months ago in Los Angeles.

“If you’re from Los Angeles, depending on which sector you’re in, that (expletive) is really heavy,” the rapper continued. “We took an L tonight. Rest in peace to Kobe. We also took a win just being from Los Angeles. It’s mixed emotions.”

READ MORE: ‘Devastated’: Fans, celebrities remember Kobe Bryant after his death

Cyrus had No. 24, Bryant’s number, on his guitar, and Lil Nas X had a Bryant jersey draped over a chair at the beginning of their performance of “Old Town Road.”

Run-DMC member Joseph “Run” Simmons held up a white Bryant Jersey during the group’s performance of “Walk This Way” with Aerosmith.

Ross remembered a brief conversation he had with Bryant that involved him admiring the NBA star’s craft. The rapper said the game would miss him.

“It’s just a huge loss to the game,” Ross said on the red carpet. “He was a great example on a lot of different stages.”

Singer Charlie Wilson called Bryant a “beautiful soul” and “one of the greatest who played the game.”

Hit-Boy, who won a Grammy with Hussle and Roddy Ricch for best rap performance for “Racks in the Middle,” said he was not going to attend the awards when he learned about Bryant’s death. But the producer said he decided to stick it out in deference to several relatives who were joining him.

“I was two seconds away from just cancelling everything,” Hit-Boy said.

New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft, who knew Bryant personally, said he felt horrible but also learned a lesson.

“I hope everyone. … gives their loved ones a hug and a kiss,” Kraft said. “Don’t take anything for granted. We should pinch ourselves and make sure we remember those we care most about.”

Outside Staples Center, fans wearing Bryant’s No. 8 and No. 24 jerseys flocked to the arena to show their respect for the Laker legend. A few hundred people gathered at L.A. Live in front of a mega screen with a smiling Bryant that read, “In Loving Memory of KOBE BRYANT 1978-2020”

Smokey Robinson choked up on camera as he spoke of Bryant, whom he called a friend.

“As a dad myself, to think that his daughter was there with him and there was nothing he could do for her,” he said. “My god.”

____

AP Entertainment Writers Leanne Italie and Marcela Isaza contributed to this report.

___

Jonathan Landrum Jr., The Associated Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

NBA

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Jen Hodge conducts an online concert during the pandemic after returning to B.C. from New York City. Photo courtesy Claudia Nobauer
Canada Recovery Benefit won’t replace the magic of live performance, musicians say

Cash will help, but its the audience connection that most performers miss — and crave

Mary Fox’s new book My Life as a Potter is available at bookstores nationwide. (Cole Schisler photo)
My Life as a Potter raises funds for Mary Fox Legacy Project

Acclaimed Vancouver Island potter’s story raising money for developing artists

Premier John Horgan and Rob Douglas, BC NDP candidate for Cowichan Valley, meet with Cowichan First Nation elders, as they demonstrate spearfishing along the river. (Submitted)
Horgan acknowledges A&E sector hit hard by COVID-19, but showing signs of recovery

Hollywood North doing better than Hollywood South, Horgan says

Can you spot all 12 Days of Christmas displays at the Butchart Gardens? Jen Blyth photo.
The magic of Christmas returns to the Butchart Gardens

Some events cancelled due to COVID-10 but 12 Days of Christmas will brighten the season

Gatineau artist Michèle Provost visits the Malaspina Galleries during her artist residency on Gabriola Island. (Photo supplied)
Gatineau artist the first to take part in new Gabriola Island artist residency

Michèle Provost to create art book reflecting on the positives of aging

Legendary Vancouver-based blues and jazz guitarist and vocalist Jim Byrnes will perform live at the Tidemark Theatre in a concert that will also be streamed. Contributed photo
Legendary blues musician and actor Jim Byrnes hits the Island

Playing Campbell River’s Tidemark Theatre for a hybrid live/online show

Dinner shows in the Playbill Dining Room are keeping the Chemainus Theatre going during the pandemic. (Photo by Don Bodger)
Dinner events satisfying for the Chemainus Theatre and patrons

Small groups enjoy entertainment and the food in the Playbill Dining Room

Kent Laforme looks through the sound tunnel, or visual portal, carved inside the 25,000-pound marble sculpture that could be installed at Cattle Point. (Screen Shot, Oakbay.ca video)
Kent Laforme looks through the sound tunnel, or visual portal, carved inside the 25,000-pound marble sculpture that could be installed at Cattle Point. (Screen Shot, Oakbay.ca video)
Stone Takaya sculpture could soon ‘howl’ at Cattle Point

Oak Bay inviting public suggestions for 25,000-pound marble sculpture

The Sid Williams Theatre marquee is once again proudly displaying upcoming events. Photo supplied
Courtenay’s Sid Williams Theatre reopening in a limited capacity

Theatre has been closed since March due to COVID-19

Nanaimo-based ceramic artist Joe Lyons is presenting his first solo exhibition, ‘Poppin Bottles Soda Distraction,’ at Nanaimo Ceramic Arts from Oct. 26 to Nov. 12. (Josef Jacobson/The News Bulletin)
Nanaimo-based ceramic artist showcases variety of bottles in first solo show

Joe Lyons presents ‘Poppin Bottles Soda Distraction’ at Nanaimo Ceramic Arts

Toronto poet Robert Priest is presenting an online reading on Oct. 24. (Photo courtesy Allen Booth)
Nanaimo spoken word society presents online reading by prolific Toronto poet

Robert Priest to dip into 40-year catalogue for upcoming Zoom reading

Most Read