Lil Wayne Pays Tribune To Kobe Bryant At The BET Awards
Lil Wayne paid tribute to Kobe Bryant by performing his 2009 song "Kobe Bryant" at the BET Awards on Sunday with a few updated lyrics.
The award show was held virtually because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Wayne performed the pre-recorded song with Bryant's No. 8 and No. 24 jersey numbers lit up behind him. Clips of Bryant playing basketball and speaking about his career were interspersed in the video, as well as Stephen A. Smith and others speaking about his greatness.
Wayne wrote the song following Bryant's Game 6 performance in the 2009 Western Conference Finals against the Denver Nuggets, in which he had 35 points and 10 assists in the Lakers' 119-92 win.
Bryant said in 2018 in an appearance on Alex Rodriguez and Big Cat's podcast "The Corp" that Lil Wayne called him after that game and told him he wanted to write the song.
"He was like, 'I'm going to do a song. Is it Okay, can I do a song?'" Bryant said in 2018. "I was like, 'All right cool.' I just thought he was BS-ing or whatever. Before the Celtics series, he sends me the song and I was like, 'Oh, you were serious? Okay, that's awesome.'"
Bryant died in a helicopter crash on Jan. 26 alongside his 13-year-old daughter Gianna and seven other people.
Wayne updated some of the lyrics in his song for Sunday's performance, shouting out Bryant's wife Vanessa and the Black Lives Matter movement.
"My heart goes out to Vanessa and the whole Black Mamba family" Wayne added to the song. "...Rest in power/ Let's hope for peace/ Black lives matter, facts."
Vanessa reposted the tribute on Instagram on Sunday, calling it beautiful.
"#Mambamentality #Mamba and our #Mambacita ❤️❤️ @liltunechi 👏🏽👏🏽 #2 #24 #8 forever 💜💛#GiannaBryant @kobebryant “✌🏽fingers for THE Mambacita “❤️ #GigiBryant Beautiful Tribute “G-O-A-T like Kobe-B,” she wrote.