Gone, but never forgotten.
That was the message behind Jennifer Hudson and Common’s touching tribute to Kobe Bryant, who, along with his 13-year-old daughter Gianna and the seven other victims, died Jan. 26 in a helicopter crash.
To kick off Sunday’s NBA All-Star Game, the singer and rapper each performed an emotional ode to the late basketball legend. Hudson sang the classic “For All We Know (We May Meet Again),” while Common delivered a powerful tribute in verse, highlighting Bryant’s impact on basketball, his Lakers legacy, and the rapper’s native city of Chicago, which is hosting this year’s All-Star Game.
“You’ll bring out the best and the greats / And inspire others like 23 did for 8,” Common rhymed on stage, referencing the impact that Michael Jordan, who wore the number 23, had on Bryant.
Common also mentioned Bryant’s tie to the city: “And being from Chicago, you can possess that Mamba Mentality / And that’s dedication and that’s the fight / So even in the darkest times, you’ll feel Kobe’s light.”
The stage’s background showed a picture of Bryant while Common performed “The Light” as fans in the audience chanted “Kobe.”
Fans, including Miami Heat player Dwyane Wade, are already reacting to Common’s performance. Wade, who was mentioned in the rapper’s tribute, tweeted, “I can’t find the words to describe what I’m feeling after watching that performance by @common. Just a kid from Chicago with a ball and a dream. Thank you for that honor.”
DJ Heat, who also attended the event, revealed that when Common said, “you’ll feel Kobe’s light,” event-goers’ wristbands lit up gold.
When Common said “you’ll feel Kobe’s light”, all of our wristbands turned gold!! 😭😭😭 pic.twitter.com/xRaC3Ec6Jl— DJ Heat (@DJHeatDC) February 17, 2020
NBA player Jamal Crawford wrote, “Common is killing this. I got tears all over again with this Kobe part.”
Common is killing this. I got tears all over again with this Kobe part.— 🏁 Jamal Crawford (@JCrossover) February 17, 2020
Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna were laid to rest in a private ceremony on Feb. 7 in Southern California. A public memorial is scheduled for Feb. 24 at Staples Center, where Bryant played for the Los Angeles Lakers. The date corresponds with Bryant’s No. 24 jersey, as well as the No. 2 jersey Gianna wore as part of Bryant’s Mamba Academy youth basketball team.
Both All-Star teams will also be wearing jerseys to commemorate Bryant and Gianna. All members of Team LeBron will wear No. 2 and Team Giannis players will wear No. 24. To pay tribute to the other victims, both teams will wear patches with nine stars to represent all who were lost in the crash, including John Altobelli, Keri Altobelli, Alyssa Altobelli, Sarah Chester, Payton Chester, Christina Mauser, and pilot Ara Zobayan.