Usher, LeBron James and Boyz II Men Pay Emotional Tribute to Kobe Bryant (Videos)

Lot of red eyes at Staples Center Friday

Last Updated: January 31, 2020 @ 9:28 PM

In the team’s first game since the death of Kobe Bryant, the Los Angeles Lakers went all out paying tribute to the team legend, with a powerful speech from LeBron James, and musical performances by R&B legends Boyz II Men and Usher, all before the game started.

Things kicked off with Boyz II Men, who delivered an emotional rendition of the national anthem for fans, performed while wearing Kobe Bryant #8 shirts.

Watch it below, courtesy of ESPN.

Meanwhile, before Usher’s pregame performance, the lights of Staples Center in Los Angeles (where the Lakers play their home games) remained dark as the audience shouted “MVP.” And on the wall, the team prominently displayed two larger-than-life size jerseys repping #8 and #24, both of the numbers Bryant wore during his 20-year tenure with the team.

Then church organs kicked in and a spotlight revealed Usher, visibly emotional as he started singing the hymn. Watch the clip below, also courtesy of ESPN:

Next came LeBron James, seen weeping openly during Boyz II Men’s performance, who addressed the crowd with a somewhat improvised tribute to Bryant, the Lakers organization, and the fans.

“Now I know at some point we will have a memorial for Kobe, but I look at this as a celebration tonight,” James said in part. “This is a celebration of the 20 years of the blood, the sweat, the tears, the broken down body, the getting up the sitting down, the countless hours, the determination to be as great as he could be.”

Watch James’ speech in full here:

The team also distributed free Kobe jerseys to every single attendee of Friday’s sold out game — one side of Staples center received a #8 Jersey while the other side received a #24.

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