The Grammys are usually a night of celebration, but this year’s ceremony had a tinge of sadness to it. A few hours before the ceremony, basketball superstar Kobe Bryant died in a helicopter crash. The crash killed eight other people on board along with the 41-year old Bryant, who is often celebrated as one of the best basketball players of all time. Tragically, the victims included Gianna Bryant, Kobe’s 13-year-old daughter. The news of the unfortunate accident shocked the country.


Host Alicia Keys opened the 2020 Grammys with a heartfelt tribute to Kobe. “Here we are, together, on music’s biggest night, celebrating the artists that do it best. But to be honest with you, we’re all feeling crazy sadness right now,” the 39-year-old songstress said. “We’re literally standing here, heartbroken, in the house that Kobe Bryant built,” continued Keys. This line refers to the fact that the venue where the Grammys are held, The Staples Center, is also the stadium where the Los Angeles Lakers play, Kobe’s team for 20 seasons. The comment garnered applause from the audience.


“We never imagined in a million years we’d have to start the show like this… So we wanted to something that could describe a tiny bit how we’re all feel right now,” said Keys before performing an a capella rendition of the Boyz II Men’s “It’s So Hard To Say Goodbye To Yesterday.” She was soon joined on stage by the members of Boyz II Men to finish out the song. After the song, Keys said, “We love you, Kobe.”

After thanking the audience, Keys ended her speech, saying, “I know that we’re gonna do what we’re here to do. I know that we’re gonna all join together, and do what we do in happy times and challenging times, we’re gonna sing together, we’re gonna laugh together, we’re gonna dance together, we’re gonna cry together, we’re gonna bring it all together, we’re gonna love together, and we’re gonna make sure that we are celebrating… the one thing that has the power to bring all of us together, and that’s music.”

Watch the emotional tribute to Bryant below.

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