Kobe Bryant Honored in touching tribute by Jennifer Hudson at NBA All-Star Game
The singer took the mic at the United Center in Chicago, Illinois, ahead of player introductions to honor the late NBA star. Bryant was tragically killed alongside his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna "Gigi" Bryant, and seven others in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California, on Jan. 26.
Magic Johnson kicked things off with a few words about Bryant and the late NBA commissioner David Stern, who died on Jan. 1. "We'll never see another basketball player quite like Kobe, scoring 81 points in one game, scoring 60 points in his last game, and then, winning five NBA championships. But what I'm really proud about when we think about Kobe Bryant... he was passionate about being a great father, husband, filmmaker -- young man won an Oscar -- so we all are hurting," he said. "This is a tough time for the whole NBA family, and if I can get you all to rise right quick."
"All I want you to, just for David and Kobe, just hold hands... we need to embrace each other," Johnson continued. "If we could just have it quiet for eight seconds."
"He was always there for all of us, in one way or another. So, to pay tribute to Kobe, Chicago's own Jennifer Hudson," Johnson said.
The powerhouse singer then delivered a stunning rendition of "For All We Know," as photos of Bryant displayed behind her, including snapshots of the basketball player with Gigi.
Hudson previously paid tribute to Bryant on Instagram, writing that his death "hurts my heart so bad."
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver revealed on Saturday that the Kia NBA All-Star Game MVP Award would be renamed in honor of Bryant, who was an 18-time All-Star and won four All-Star Game MVP awards during his career. The award will be presented for the first time with its new name on Sunday.
Bryant will also be honored in other ways throughout the game. LeBron James’ team will be wearing jerseys with the number 2, in honor of Gianna’s Mamba Academy basketball team jersey, while Giannis Antetokounmpo’s group will wear Bryant’s number, 24. All players also are wearing a patch with nine stars in honor of the victims of the crash.
The basketball legend's public memorial will take place at the Staples Center on Feb. 24. See more in the video below.
The NBA All-Star Game airs Sunday at 8 p.m. ET on TNT.
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