Lakers Pay Emotional Tribute to Kobe Bryant with LeBron James, Usher and Boyz II Men 

It was a surreal and heartbreaking scene at Staples Center as the Lakers hosted their first NBA game following Kobe Bryant’s death.

During an emotional pre-game ceremony, which featured performances by Usher and Boyz II Men, and a rousing speech from star LeBron James, the organization saluted one of the league’s all-time greats in Bryant, who, along with his daughter, Gianna, and seven others, was tragically killed in a helicopter crash Sunday morning.

“We’re all hurt and heartbroken,” James said, fighting back tears.

Standing next to two lofty bouquets of purple and gold flowers, shaped in Kobe’s numbers, 8 and 24, James told the sold-out crowd that Friday night wasn’t Bryant’s memorial – that would happen soon – but a “celebration” of the basketball icon, otherwise known as “The Black Mamba.”

James began by reading the names of all of the victims in Sunday’s tragedy: Kobe, his daughter Gianna (“Gigi”), John Altobelli, Keri Altobelli and Alyssa Altobelli, Christina Mauser, Sarah Chester and Peyton Chester and Ara Zobayan.

“In the words of Kobe Bryant, Mamba out,” he concluded. “But in the words of us, not forgotten. Live on, brother.”

Earlier, the 20,000 or so passionate fans in attendance chanted “Kobe! Kobe!” followed by “Gigi! Gigi!” for Bryant’s 13-old daughter.

Gigi’s basketball teammates sat courtside for the game, dressed in black jumpsuits. The Lakers, who held a 24.2 second moment of silence, also saved seats for Kobe and Gigi, their courtside chairs adorned with jerseys and a bouquet of red roses.

Broadcast live on ESPN, the pre-game ceremony began with Usher singing “Amazing Grace.”

Boyz II Men, who performed a Kobe tribute along with Alicia Keys at Sunday’s Grammys, harmonized the Star-Spangled Banner.

Later, at halftime, Wiz Khalifa and Charlie Puth, would pair up for a touching rendition of “See You Again.”

At the heart of Friday’s ceremony was a gut-wrenching video assembled by the Lakers. Narrated by Bryant, himself, and featuring the beautiful music of cellist Ben Wong, the six-minute tribute captured Kobe’s basketball legacy, in his own words, while also championing his off-court success as an Oscar-winner, husband and father of four daughters.

 

 

More TV

  • Caroline Flack

    'Love Island' Returns to Air As ITV Defends Treatment of Caroline Flack

    ‘Love Island’ was back on air Monday for the first time since the death of former host Caroline Flack on Feb. 15. Amid the reality series’ return, broadcaster ITV insists it supported the star after she was removed from the show. Monday night’s episode began somberly with narrator Iain Stirling providing voiceover over scenes of [...]

  • Tiffany BooneEntertainment Weekly Pre-SAG Party, Arrivals,

    Actor Tiffany Boone Addresses Her Decision to Quit 'The Chi'

    Actor Tiffany Boone addressed her exit from “The Chi,” the Showtime series she departed in November 2018 after making harassment allegations against her former co-star Jason Mitchell. Mitchell was fired from the show last May as a result of intimidation and abuse accusations made by Boone and showrunner Ayanna Floyd Davis. Mitchell was subsequently dismissed [...]

  • Amazon Prime nabs ‘Russian Affairs’ for

    Amazon Prime Nabs ‘Russian Affairs’ for Germany, France and the Netherlands

    Amazon Prime Video has acquired the first season of series “Russian Affairs” for distribution in Germany, France and the Netherlands, from Russia’s Start Studios. The eight-part drama that follows the lives of Russia’s elite and those who aspire to that position is set in contemporary Moscow. Under the title “Gold Diggers,” the series was broadcast [...]

  • MODEL RELEASED Mother with baby, 1

    Channel 4 Orders ‘Baby Surgeons’ From Wonderhood Studios

    U.K. broadcaster Channel 4 has commissioned Wonderhood Studios for a documentary series with the working title “Baby Surgeons.” The series will explore the journeys parents go through to save their babies during complex pregnancies and will feature cutting-edge baby surgeries, some performed inside the womb. It will also use CGI, MRI and Ultrasound to enhance [...]

  • Bertelsmann CEO Says RTL, ProSiebenSat.1 Should

    Bertelsmann CEO Says RTL, ProSiebenSat.1 Should Be Free to Merge

    The CEO of German media giant Bertelsmann has said its RTL Group TV division should be allowed to merge with German rival ProSiebenSat.1 and called for a loosening of E.U. antitrust regulations in order to better stave off intensifying competition from U.S. streaming giants. In an interview with German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung published on [...]

  • Politicians and Petition Support BBC Following

    Politicians and Petition Support BBC Following Reports of Major Cuts

    A war of words around the future of the BBC continued on Monday amid reports of severe cutbacks to the U.K. public broadcaster. The Sunday Times reported over the weekend that Downing Street, the seat of the U.K. government, was planning to replace the annual BBC license fee with a subscription service; sell most of [...]

  • Stanley Tucci

    Stanley Tucci to Host BBC Radio 4 Series 'The Californian Century'

    Actor and filmmaker Stanley Tucci will front series “The Californian Century,” set to air on BBC Radio 4. Tucci will play a cynical screenwriter who narrates the stories of ten people who helped build California over the last 100 years. They include Francis Boggs, the first person to direct a full movie in California; Hattie [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content