The nation continues to mourn Kobe Bryant, Gianna Bryant, and the other family members, teammates, coaches and friends whose lives were snatched away in a tragic helicopter crash on January 26.
During the NBA’s All-Star Weekend, held in Chicago, the league in which Bryant played 20 years with the Los Angeles Lakers, remembered their all-star through touching tributes. In fact, each player on the court wore jerseys with nine stars to signify the nine people who perished in the fatal helicopter crash.
Oscar winner Jennifer Hudson honored Bryant’s life with a moving rendition of “For All We Know” before the game Sunday night. During the performance, which quickly went viral on social media shortly after, Hudson wore a purple gown and yellow teardrop earrings during the performance, a nod to his team, the Los Angeles Lakers.
NBA commissioner Adam Silver announced that the NBA All-Star Game MVP Award has been renamed the NBA All-Star Game Kobe Bryant MVP Award on February 15.
Bryant appeared in 18 All-Star games throughout his career. When he made his first appearance, he was just 19 years old and the youngest player to ever do so. He was also tied for the record of four All-Star MVP awards with Hall of Famer Bob Pettit.
“Kobe Bryant is synonymous with NBA All-Star and embodies the spirit of this global celebration of our game,” said Silver of the name change. “He always relished the opportunity to compete with the best of the best and perform at the highest level for millions of fans around the world.”
Many Chicago natives participated in All-Star festivities, including former Chicago Bulls player Michael Jordan, rappers Common and Chance the Rapper along with former President and proud girl dad Barack Obama.
Our forever president acknowledged the profound sadness that loomed over the festivities. “That loss is something that I know many are still grappling with, particularly because he was with his daughter and those families and those children,” Obama said in a video clip shared by CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer.
“Those of us who have had the joy and the privilege of being parents taking kids to ball games rooting for our children and seeing our greatest hopes passed on to them nothing’s more heartbreaking,” he continued.
Obama went on to offer “the NBA family,” “the Bryants” and the loved ones of the others lost in the accident his “deepest condolences.”
Bryant was one a few NBA players Obama invited to the White House to play a pick-up game in honor of the former president’s 49th birthday. According to CNN, Bryant was so committed to winning that he chastised some of the other players for refusing to guard the then Commander-in-Chief.