Tonight, Jennifer Hudson paid tribute to the late basketball player Kobe Bryant during an opening performance at the 69th annual NBA All-Star Game in Chicago, Illinois. The Oscar-winning singer (and Chicago native) honored the memory of Bryant—who was killed in a helicopter crash last month, along with his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna—before the game’s player introductions.
To honor Kobe, Gianna, and the seven other victims of the crash, Hudson sang an emotional rendition of the standard “For All We Know (We May Meet Again)” as various photos of Bryant played in the background. For opening remarks, Chaka Khan sang the U.S. national anthem, while Magic Johnson offered a few words about Bryant as well. “We will never see another basketball player quite like Kobe,” he said. “He was passionate about being a great father, husband, filmmaker.”
Tonight’s match saw Team LeBron face off against Team Giannis. The format of the game was changed to honor Bryant; target scores were set at 24, Bryant’s old uniform number. Halftime performances also featured Chance the Rapper, Quavo, Lil Wayne, and DJ Khaled. (A day earlier, Bryant had been announced as one of the eight finalists for the Basketball Hall of Fame, along with Tim Duncan and Kevin Garnett.)
Since Bryant’s death, the basketball community has been publicly mourning the loss of the legend. James, a close friend to Kobe and a star player this evening, told reporters ahead of tonight’s match: “We know that he’s watching over us. It’s our responsibility to just represent the purple and gold, not only for him but for all the greats, everybody that’s ever come through the Lake Show.”