Chicago natives Jennifer Hudson and Common opened up the 2020 NBA All-Star Game in Chicago on Sunday (Feb. 16) with emotional tributes to basketball legend Kobe Bryant.
Before tipoff, Hudson took to the stage on the court to sing a beautiful rendition of the classic “For All We Know” as images of Kobe and his daughter Gianna (aka “Gigi”) were displayed on a massive screen behind her.
Prior to taking center court, Hudson was introduced by NBA icon and businessman Magic Johnson, who said he wanted everyone to “come together” to honor Bryant and former NBA Commissioner David Stern, who passed away on New Year’s Day.
“We will never see another basketball player quite like Kobe,” Johnson said. “He was passionate about being a great father, husband, filmmaker.”
As the crowd started chanting “Kobe, Kobe, Kobe,” Johnson called for a brief eight seconds of silence to honor the NBA legend.
Following Hudson’s performance, Common took to center court for a performance praising fellow Chicago natives Michael Jordan, Dwyane Wade, Isiah Thomas, and former President Barack Obama, while also honoring Kobe Bryant.
“He used his game to touch the world’s soul, a king named Kobe Bryant who wore purple and gold,” Common said.
Kobe Bryant, 41, and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna were among nine others who were killed in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California on January 26th.
The other seven people who lost their lives were pilot Ara Zobayan, Orange Coast College head baseball coach John Altobelli, his wife Keri Altobelli, their 14-year-old daughter Alyssa Altobelli, Harbor Day School basketball coach Christina Mauser, Gigi’s basketball teammate, 13-year-old Payton Chester, and Payton’s mother, Sarah Chester.
A public memorial for Kobe, Gigi and the seven other victims will be held at the Staples Center in Los Angeles on Monday, February 24th.