Mere hours after news broke on Sunday that NBA MVP Kobe Bryant, his 13-year-old daughter Gianna, and seven others were killed when his private helicopter crashed into a hillside in Calabasas, huge screens displaying a memorial to Bryant were erected outside the Staples Center in Los Angles. It was indeed the spot Bryant became a legend playing for the Los Angeles Lakers – and the location of the 2020 Grammy Awards held that same night.
All I could think about was the unimaginable pain Bryant’s wife Vanessa would be going through. She would have been grappling to come to terms with the devastating news of losing her husband and her daughter and the “In Loving Memory of Kobe Bryant” sign hours after the 41-year-old was taken, surely would have made it seem more real. It would have been shocking to absorb.
This is not to say the sign was a bad idea. It would have been inconsiderate of the Grammys to not tip their hats to Bryant. In fact, the overlong show did a beautiful job at paying tribute to the superstar while still being able to recognize excellence in music. Returning Grammy host, Alicia Keys, struck the perfect tone, performing a short, a cappella version of Boys II Men’s “It’s So Hard To Say Goodbye To Yesterday” with the R&B trio. “Never in a million years did we think we would have to start the show like this. We’re all feeling crazy sadness right now. Earlier today, Los Angeles, America, and the whole wide world lost a hero,” Keys said. “We’re literally standing here heartbroken in the house Kobe Bryant built.”
Lizzo took home the Grammy for Best Solo Performance and, during her acceptance speech, put those little problems we all stress over into perspective.
Chrissy Teigen told reporters that the Grammys felt so “unimportant” compared to what Vanessa and her daughters were going through. “Downtown right now and nothing feels more unimportant than what we are doing today,” she said. “This is absolutely terrible. Everyone is numb.”
Diplo called Bryant iconic.
Jennifer Lopez, who was not present at this year’s Grammy’s wrote a moving tribute to Bryant and Vanessa with whom she was friends. “The most unfair thing in life is to lose a child and husband on the same day. Vanessa, I pray for your strength and that God guides you each step of the way through this unimaginable heartbreak.”
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Family. As I scrolled through Kobe’s feed, and Alex and I talk memories and moments we remember about him … this is the truth that rings out the loudest … family is what matters most. We are all feeling sadness from this loss, but all I can think of is that it is a grain of sand compared to what Vanessa must going through right now. I am sending all of my love and praying for you, your children and the other families involved in today’s tragic turn of events. The most unfair thing in life is to lose a child and husband on the same day. Vanessa, I pray for your strength and that God guides you each step of the way through this unimaginable heartbreak. To the other families who are suffering from this unthinkable tragedy, may God be with you all. Kobe you meant so much to so many and we will miss you forever. Thank you for your work ethic, your inspiration and your heart. #hero #legend #husband #father 😢🙏🏼💔