The 2020 Grammy Awards was held at the Staples Center on the day when legendary basketball star Kobe Bryant, who played his entire 20-year career with the Los Angeles Lakers at the centre, passed away in a helicopter crash.
Inevitably, the mood at the 62nd Grammy Awards on Sunday night turned somber from celebratory as the celebrities mourned the death of Bryant who died in a helicopter crash earlier in the day.
Bryant, his 13-year-old daughter Gianna, and at least seven others including a pilot died in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California, on Sunday morning. He was 41 and had retired from the Lakers in 2016.
The Grammy Awards pre-telecast ceremony opened with a moment of silence for the five-time champion. Interim Recording Academy CEO Harvey Mason Jr. told the attendees, "As most of you may know, we lost Kobe Bryant in a tragic helicopter accident today. Since we are in his house, I would ask you to join me in a moment of silence."
To honour the basketball legend, Lizzo- the first performer of the night, kicked off the celebrations by announcing: "Tonight is for Kobe," before launching into a medley of her hits. The 31-year-old singer gave an emotional performance of "Truth Hurts" and "Cuz I Love You," before she gave the stage to singer and this year's Grammy host Alicia Keys.
Keys moved the audience with another tribute to Kobe and said: "We're all feeling crazy sadness right now. 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." The 39-year-old then went on to perform a soulful rendition of "It's So Hard to Say Goodbye to Yesterday" with the group Boyz II Men.
While some shed tears for the NBA player on the red carpet, some decided not to make an appearance at the award show. Rapper Rick Ross paid tribute to Bryant as "a true champion," while "Blues" artist and Grammys nominee Keb' Mo' called his death "a huge loss," reports Associated Press. British artist Labrinth said, "it was insane news to hear this morning. He's been part of my life for a very long time. ... I couldn't believe it."
Meanwhile, some celebrities opted for subtle ways to show their respect to the legend. The Jonas Brothers- Nick, Joe, and Kevin, sported purple ribbons on the left lapels of their suits as a mark of respect for the sportsman and his daughter, and also refused to participate in any interview.
Billy Ray Cyrus who won a Grammy for her track "Bad Guy," had "#24," Bryant's number, on her guitar, while Lil Nas X had a Bryant jersey draped over a chair at the beginning of their performance of "Old Town Road."
On the other hand, before the Grammy's red carpet was rolled out, Bryant's fans had started arriving at the stadium to leave flowers and other tributes for him.