The mood was celebratory but somber during the 62nd Grammy Awards on Sunday after news broke earlier in the day that Lakers star Kobe Bryant was killed in a helicopter crash in Calabasas. His 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, was also among the nine on board who died.
But Bryant, the iconic basketball player who spent 20 years with the Los Angeles Lakers, was in the hearts and minds of people at the Grammys, which took place inside the team’s home base: Staples Center. Bryant’s two jerseys, numbers 8 and 24, were illuminated near the ceiling inside the center. (One of his jerseys also appeared in Lil Nas X’s shape-shifting performance of “Old Town Road.”)
Grammy producers quickly added a tribute to honor Bryant alongside slain rapper Nipsey Hussle during the ceremony.
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Sunday’s Grammys were dominated by three L.A. artists — Billie Eilish, Tyler, the Creator and Nipsey Hussle — and its greatest athlete, Kobe Bryant.
Outside the downtown L.A. arena, Angelenos gathered to pay their respects to the basketball luminary. Stars participating in the Grammys ceremony were in the midst of a dress rehearsal when news of Bryant’s death began to circulate.
Multi-Grammy winning artist Alicia Keys opened the show with some heartfelt words for Bryant, saying: “We’re all feeling crazy sadness... because Los Angeles, America and the whole wide world lost a hero.”
Here’s what other stars had to say at the Grammys red carpet and ceremony, which will be updated throughout the evening.
Lizzo: “Tonight is for Kobe.”
Later, while accepting her award for pop solo performance for her self-love anthem “Truth Hurts,” Lizzo alluded to the late athlete’s death, saying: “This whole week, I’ve been lost in my problems, stressed out, and then in an instant, all of that can go away and your priorities really shift. Today, all of my little problems I thought were the biggest in the world were gone, and I realized that there’s people hurting right now.”
YBN Cordae: "[Kobe] was a superhero.”
DJ Khaled: “R.I.P. Kobe Bryant. Long live Kobe,” said the record executive after a Nipsey Hussle tribute performance with John Legend, Meek Mill, Roddy Rich, Kirk Franklin & YG.
John Legend: “We’ve seen so much tragedy today and last year, and so much is going on. But let’s love each other. Let’s love our families. Let’s hold each other tight. God bless.”