The NBA player tragically died in a helicopter crash yesterday
The star-studded event was held at Los Angeles’ Staples Centre, where Kobe played for 20 years as part of the NBA team – and it was only hours before that the news had broke of Kobe’s tragic passing.
Alicia – who was presenting the show – said she was feeling “crazy sad” about Kobe’s death, and added: “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.
“We never thought in a million years we’d have to start the show like this.”
She was joined on stage with Boyz II Men, who collectively sang an a capella version of It’s So Hard to Say Goodbye to Yesterday, in tribute to the basketball player.
Lizzo also paid tribute to Kobe, by dedicating her performance of Truth Hurts and Cuz I Love You to him.
She announced: “Tonight is for Kobe.”
Celebrities in the audience were all left emotional by the tributes, and there was also a spotlight on Kobe’s No. 8 and 24 jerseys in the rafters of the arena the entire night.
Kobe and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna were killed along with seven others in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California, on Sunday morning.
The retired basketball star’s private Sikorsky S-76 crashed into a hill amid heavy fog and immediately caught fire at around 10am on Sunday.
Law enforcement told TMZ even LAPD air support had been grounded due to the bad weather, and flight data shows the aircraft appeared to get into trouble above the L.A. Zoo where it circled at a very low altitude.
Officials with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department responded to the scene near Las Virgenes Rd and Willow Glen St in Calabasas after a group of mountain bikers spotted the smoke.