First, Latifah performed Stevie Wonder’s inspirational ballad “Love’s In Need of Love Today” and changed some of the lyrics in honor of Bryant, who died in a shocking helicopter crash last month.
“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 rapped over the song.
Bryant wore jerseys numbered 24 and 8 during his NBA career. NBA Commissioner Adam Silver also announced that the All-Star Game MVP award would be renamed in honor of Bryant, who himself won the award four times during his 20-year career.
Hudson was introduced by basketball legend Magic Johnson before the All-Star game kicked off in the evening. She sang an emotional a capella version of Rod Stewart’s “For All We Know (We May Meet Again)” while images of Bryant played on a screen behind her.
Chance the Rapper, DJ Khaled, Quavo and Lil Wayne will also perform the halftime show during the All-Star game.
President Barack Obama fondly remembered Bryant at the All-Star brunch yesterday.
“That loss is something that I know many are still grappling with — particularly, Kobe, because he was with his daughter and those families and those children. And those of us who have had the joy and privilege of being parents and taking kids to ball games and rooting for our children and then seeing our dreams and hopes passed on to them — nothing is more heartbreaking,” he said.