The NBA has announced that Oscar and Grammy-winner Jennifer Hudson will perform a special tribute to Kobe Bryant at the 69th NBA All-Star Game this Sunday. According to the league’s press release, the performance will “open the night ahead of player introductions.”
Hudson’s performance will honor the late Los Angeles Lakers legend who was 41 when he died in a helicopter crash late last month, as well as his daughter Gianna, 13, and their seven friends who lost their lives: pilot Ara Zobayan, 50, John Altobelli, 55, Keri Altobelli, 46, Alyssa Altobelli, 14, Sarah Chester, 45, Payton Chester, 13, and Christina Mauser, 38.
Jennifer Hudson is going to perform a Kobe tribute at the All-Star game pic.twitter.com/6V5cFevBQe
— Harrison Faigen (@hmfaigen) February 13, 2020
The league also announced that Chance the Rapper, Lil Wayne, DJ Khaled, Quavo, and Taylor Bennett will perform the halftime show. And, Chaka Khan will sing the American national anthem, while Tenille Arts will perform the Canadian national anthem.
According to People magazine, Kobe and Gianna were laid to rest in a private funeral on Friday, February 7th in Corona Del Mar, California. There will be a public memorial and celebration of life for the father and daughter on February 24th at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.
Kobe and Gianna are survived by his wife and her mom, Vanessa Bryant, and the couple’s three daughters Natalia, 17, Bianka, 3, and Capri, 7 months. An insider says that Vanessa has been relying on her mom, Sofia Laine, for strength and support during this horrific tragedy.
“She is incredibly close to her mom, and her mom has been her rock throughout the past few weeks,” the source said. “Her mom is always there with her and the girls, and she’s been keeping Vanessa strong.”
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I’ve been reluctant to put my feelings into words. My brain refuses to accept that both Kobe and Gigi are gone. I can’t process both at the same time. It’s like I’m trying to process Kobe being gone but my body refuses to accept my Gigi will never come back to me. It feels wrong. Why should I be able to wake up another day when my baby girl isn’t being able to have that opportunity?! I’m so mad. She had so much life to live. Then I realize I need to be strong and be here for my 3 daughters. Mad I’m not with Kobe and Gigi but thankful I’m here with Natalia, Bianka and Capri. I know what I’m feeling is normal. It’s part of the grieving process. I just wanted to share in case there’s anyone out there that’s experienced a loss like this. God I wish they were here and this nightmare would be over. Praying for all of the victims of this horrible tragedy. Please continue to pray for all.
A public memorial service for the Altobelli family was held at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, California, on Monday, February 10th.
As for Hudson, this is her third notable performance to honor a late legend. In 2012, she opened the Grammy Awards with a performance of I Will Always Love You to honor Whitney Houston, who passed away the night before. And, in 2018, Hudons sang Amazing Grace at Aretha Franklin’s memorial service.
Jennifer Hudson will portray Franklin on the big screen this year in the biopic Respect, which is scheduled to hit theaters nationwide on October 9th. The 2020 NBA All-Star Game airs Sunday, February 16th on TNT.