Boyz II Men on Getting the Chance to Honor and Celebrate Kobe Bryant: 'Anything They Need From Us' (Exclusive)
ET spoke with Nathan Morris, Shawn Stockman and Wanya Morris at Staples Center in Los Angeles on Friday night, before they sang the National Anthem at the Lakers' first game since the NBA star, along with eight others, including his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, died in a helicopter crash earlier this week.
"Anything they need from us, they'll always have. He deserves a hell of a lot more than what we can offer. We just give what we got," Nathan expressed.
It was somber night at Staples Center, as the entire court and night was dedicated to Kobe and those who lost their lives in the tragic accident. For Boyz II Men, it was a sad night but also one of celebration.
"The main thing is for people to remember," Wanya explained. "The song that we're singing, The National Anthem, is a song for people to sit back and reflect on whatever. I think for the most part, you have other performances beforehand that are gonna definitely tug at the heart strings… I'm pretty sure it's gonna be a very sad night, but at the same time we have to celebrate his life. That's what we're doing."
Boyz II Men sings the national anthem during the Lakers’ pregame ceremony. pic.twitter.com/yvnwZhyd53— ESPN (@espn) February 1, 2020
When asked what their favorite memory of Kobe was, Wanya recalled a charity basketball game in Philadelphia before the athlete was signed to the Lakers.
"I think it would be playing at the celebrity basketball game in Philly. He was doing all those tricks, before he got signed," Wanya shared. "He was doing all those street basketball tricks. The whole game was fast breaks."
With Shawn adding, "This was right before the draft and, being from Philly, the hype was all about him. So we were honored enough, or privileged enough, to play with him in a charity basketball game. I don't think I've played basketball since."
Previously Boyz II Men, along with Alicia Keys, also delivered a powerful and meaningful performance of their 1991 hit, "It's So Hard to Say Goodbye to Yesterday," during the GRAMMY Awards, the same day Kobe died.
Bryant was a Los Angeles Laker for his entire 20-year NBA career and was an icon in the Lakers organization, winning five championships. Friday's game began with Usher singing "Amazing Grace." A cellist also played "Hallelujah" while a video montage of Kobe talking about his love of basketball, his family and his legacy played on the screens.
Wiz Khalifa and Charlie Puth then performed "See You Again" during the halftime show.
Kobe's wife, Vanessa, took to Instagram shortly after the Lakers' heartbreaking tributes to recognize the team for paying their respects to her family.
"There is no #24 without #2. ❤️#GirlDaddy #DaddysGirl #MyBabies ❤️❤️ #OurAngels," she captioned her post.
ET also spoke with Shaquille O'Neal in Miami on Friday, where he teared up talking about the one thing he wished he could tell his former teammate and friend.
"It's tough because we won't get to have these conversations. I don't really wanna have these conversations with other people. I wanna have them with him," O'Neal said, getting visibly emotional. "When I go to his Hall of Fame, I want to say, 'Congratulations.' When I go to his statue unveiling, I want to say, 'Congratulations.' Next time, I want him to say, 'A-ha! I got five, you got four.' Next time I see him, I want him to go, 'My daughter's 15, your daughter's 15.'"
See more in the video below.
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