'Tonight is for Kobe': Grammys become tribute after shock death of Kobe Bryant

Kristine Tarbert
Senior Lifestyle & Entertainment Producer
Kobe Bryant holds the Larry O'Brien Trophy and the Bill Russell MVP Trophy in 2010. Photo: Getty Images

The 2020 Grammy Awards currently underway in Los Angeles have turned into a tribute event after the shock death of Kobe Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter in a helicopter crash in California. 

The NBA great’s iconic home stadium the Staples Centre is playing host to the 62nd annual Grammy Awards with celebrities sharing their grief about the news.

“Tonight is for Kobe,” superstar Lizzo said on stage as she prepared to open the show.

Lizzo shared a tribute to Kobe before opening the show. Photo: Getty

Grammys host Alicia Keys then addressed the tragedy on stage in an emotional opening speech.

“Here we are together, on music’s biggest night, celebrating the artists that do it best. But 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 and we’re literally standing here heartbroken in the house that Kobe Bryant built,” she said.

“Right now Kobe and his daughter Gianna, and all of those that have been tragically lost today, are in our spirit, in our heart, in our prayers, they’re in this building and I would like to ask everybody to just take a moment and hold them inside of you, and share our strength and support with their families… we never imagined in a million years we would have to start our show like this:”

Alicia Keys and Boyz II Men sing in memory of late NBA legend Kobe Bryant. Photo: Getty

Before the ceremony kicked off, red carpet hosts Ryan Seacrest and Giuliana Rancic also shared their disbelief at the news.

“It’s unthinkable,” Ryan said. “He was on the phone with me a few months ago talking about his love of being a father and talking about his daughters, so many artists will be thinking about this today.”

Co-host Giuliana added, “My heart is so heavy today. As a mother, as a wife, as a human, my heart goes out to Vanessa and their family tonight, first and foremost.”

E! hosts Ryan Seacrest and Giuliana Rancic shared their shock at the news. Photo: E!

During his red carpet interview comedian and actor Trevor Noah said, “You can feel it. We’re celebrating each other today, but at the same time it feels like the entire Staples Center is going to be celebrating someone who strove for excellence.”

The Jonas Brothers payed tribute by wearing purple ribbons for the event, and have also cancelled all their interviews in honour of the victims.

Kevin Jonas, Nick Jonas and Joe Jonas of Jonas Brothers wear purple ribbons at the Grammys. Photo: Getty

While Nick Jonas’ wife Priyanka Chopra also had a tiny ‘24’ painted on her nail— the number Kobe Bryant wore on the court for the LA Lakers beginning in 2006.

Priyanka Chopra has ‘24’ painted on her nail - Kobe's number. Photos: Getty/Instagram

Hours before the awards ceremony got underway, as the world shared its shock at the tragic news, hundreds of fans gathered at the Staples Centre in downtown LA to pay their respects to the NBA star.

Some even called for officials to cancel the Grammys out of respect, although the show went ahead as planned.

Photo: Twitter
Photo: Twitter
Photo: Twitter

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