The basketball community continues to mourn a lost legend. On Sunday, Jennifer Hudson delivered a powerful tribute to Kobe Bryant before the NBA All-Star Game — and there was hardly a dry eye in the house by the time she finished her moving rendition of the classic “For All We Know.” Making the moment even more emotional? Prior to Hudson’s performance, basketball icon Magic Johnson introduced her to the stage and set the tone to honor Bryant, his daughter Gianna and the seven others who tragically lost their lives in last month’s helicopter crash.
As Johnson delivered his heartfelt remarks, fans chanted Bryant’s name. “We will never see another basketball player quite like Kobe… he was passionate about being a great father, husband, filmmaker,” Johnson said before leading the crowd in an eight-second silence in a nod to the number Bryant wore for the first half of his career. Then, Hudson took the stage to sing Rod Stewart’s “For All We Know (We May Meet Again),” starting a capella before a soft and stirring instrumental accompaniment began.
Images of Bryant, some with Gianna, played on a screen behind Hudson. Visibly emotional, she sang the haunting lines, “For all we know/We may never meet again/Before you go/Make this moment sweet again.” When Hudson finished, one final image remained on the screen: Bryant’s silhouette.
Hudson wasn’t the only one who gave a touching tribute to the late, great NBA legend. Queen Latifah belted out Stevie Wonder’s “Love’s in Need of Love Today” ballad, changing a few of the lyrics in Bryant’s honor. “Home is where the heart is. Don’t gotta pay a mortgage. It’s free, not a fee you ever owe me. Give love a shot. When you do, say, ‘Kobe.’ 24 hours, 8 days a week — trophies,” she riffed.
Chicago native Common dedicated a rap to the great players from his city, with a special shout-out to Bryant. “A king named Kobe Bryant. Even in the darkest times, you feel Kobe’s light,” he rapped as the arena lights lit up in the Lakers’ purple and gold. Fellow Chicago native Chance the Rapper also honored Bryant and Gianna during his halftime performance.
Bryant, 41, died on Jan. 26 when his helicopter went down in the hills of Calabasas, California. Onboard and also killed were Gianna, 13; pilot Ara Zobayan; John Altobelli, his wife Keri Altobelli, and their 14-year-old daughter Alyssa Altobelli; Christina Mauser; Sarah Chester and her 13-year-old daughter Payton Chester.