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Grammys Open With Kobe Bryant Tribute at Staples Center: ‘Tonight Is for Kobe’ (Video)

Retired jerseys of the late Lakers star are shown during awards ceremony

Lizzo opened the televised portion of the Grammy Awards Sunday night with a tribute to Kobe Bryant, the NBA star who was killed in a helicopter crash hours earlier. “Tonight is for Kobe,” she said before launching into a few bars of her song “Cuz I Love You.”

Workers at the Staples Center — where Bryant spent the majority of his 20-year career with the Los Angeles Lakers — quickly removed the curtains covering Bryant’s No. 8 and No. 24 jerseys that were retired in December 2017, the Los Angeles Times reported. And a spotlight was placed on the two jerseys during the awards show.

“To be honest with you, we’re all feeling crazy-sad right now,” host Alicia Keys said. “And we’re standing here heartbroken in the house that Kobe Bryant built.” Members of the classic R&B group Boyz II Men then joined her for a short version of “It’s So Hard to Say Goodbye to Yesterday.”

Bryant also was given a moment of silence during the pre-televised portion of the show. “As most of you may know, we lost Kobe Bryant in a tragic helicopter accident today,”  the Recording Academy’s interim CEO Harvey Mason Jr. at the pre-telecast ceremony. “Since we are in his house, I would ask you to join me in a moment of silence.”

As music stars arrived for the Grammys, hundreds of Lakers fans gathered outside the Staples Center to create a flower memorial for Bryant. Among them was WNBA star Chiney Ogwumike, who took videos of the impromptu tribute as fans were beginning to arrive.

Watch Keys and Boyz II Men sing in the video above.