Kobe Bryant, one of the most accomplished basketball players in NBA history, died today at age 41 in a helicopter crash that also killed his 13-year-old daughter and seven others. Tributes to Bryant are pouring in, including many from the music world. That sentiment extended to today’s Grammys events, which are taking place at the Staples Center in LA, where Bryant played his home games with the Lakers.
As Billboard reports, during this afternoon’s Premiere Ceremony, during which most of the awards were handed out, the Recording Academy’s interim CEO and board chair, Harvey Mason Jr., asked for a moment of silence to honor Bryant — who, it’s worth mentioning, dabbled in music a bit himself. (Perhaps most notably, his 1998 Brian McKnight collaboration “Hold Me” peaked at #35 on the Hot 100.) “Since we are in his house I would ask you to join me in a moment of silence,” Mason said. According to ESPN’s Rachel Nichols, large crowds gathered to mourn outside the Staples Center, where seemingly every video screen memorialized Bryant.
The Grammys ceremony itself featured numerous tributes as well. Before launching into her opening performance of “Cuz I Love You” and “Truth Hurts,” Lizzo’s first words were, “Tonight is for Kobe.” Then, host Alicia Keys began by saying, “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. And we’re literally standing here heartbroken in the house that Kobe Bryant built.” She and Boyz II Men (who hail from Bryant’s hometown of Philadelphia) then performed an a cappella “It’s So Hard To Say Goodbye To Yesterday.”
Boyz II Men and alicias tribute to Kobe I’m- pic.twitter.com/ykFb9DiMHJ
— ade⁷ ᵔᴥᵔ BTS X BEYONCE (@CZENN1E) January 27, 2020
Just surreal at Staples Center – Kobe’s face on every screen as hundreds of people seem to just want to be somewhere they can cry together. Also: The Grammys are here tonight so there is the odd person wandering around in a tuxedo.
None of this feels real. pic.twitter.com/esukv1yNZs
— Rachel Nichols (@Rachel__Nichols) January 26, 2020
— MTV NEWS (@MTVNEWS) January 27, 2020