Alicia Keys kicked off tonight by honoring Bryant’s memory
Kobe Bryant, one of the greatest basketball players in NBA history who played his entire 20-year career with the Los Angeles Lakers, died today at age 41 in a helicopter crash along with his 13-year-old daughter and seven others. Tributes poured in from around the globe and were on clear display during the 62nd annual Grammys, which are happening at Staples Center where Bryant played with the Lakers.
Recording Academy’s interim CEO and board chair, Harvey Mason Jr., asked for a moment of silence to honor Bryant before the show aired. “Since we are in his house I would ask you to join me in a moment of silence,” Mason said. Then, Lizzo took the stage to kick off the awards show, saying, “Tonight is for Kobe. I’m crying because I love you.”
Finally, host Alicia Keys came on stage to honor the legend, 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. Right now, Kobe and his daughter Gianna and all of those that have been tragically lost today are in our spirit. They’re in our hearts. They’re in our prayers. They’re in this building and I would like to ask everybody to take a moment and just hold them inside of you,” she said. “And we’re literally standing here heartbroken in the house that Kobe Bryant built.”
Keys and Boyz II Men then performed an a cappella version of “It’s So Hard to Say Goodbye to Yesterday” and there couldn’t have been a dry eye in the audience or for anyone watching. It was a powerful reminder of all the world lost and to hold on tight to those you love in your life because tomorrow is promised to no one.
Bryant’s retired numbers were lit up in the Staples Center and many will likely offer their condolences to Bryant’s family — especially to wife, Vanessa, and his three daughters left behind.
Keys continued her opening by saying, “We never imagined in a million years we’d have to start a show like this.” She then went on to talk to the crowd, reminding them about the power of music. “I know that it’s the most healing thing in the world,” Keys said. “So let us get some healing going on right now.”
We’re likely to see a lot of amazing performances tonight, but the mood will remain somber for those watching and everyone in Los Angeles who grew up watching Bryant and the Lakers.