This year’s Super Bowl is one for the ages, with the San Francisco 49ers squaring off against the Kansas City Chiefs in Miami Gardens, Florida. However, the promised action on the gridiron was preceded by a touching and heartfelt tribute to another athletic icon, recently deceased basketball legend Kobe Bryant.
On Thursday, per CBS Sports, Super Bowl 2020 halftime performers Shakira and Jennifer Lopez made it clear that they would see their planned performance as an homage to the departed basketball superstar. During that same presser, Shakira spoke of a desire to include themes concerning diversity, while Lopez detailed the very emotional moment that her husband — baseball great Alex Rodriguez — tearfully brought the tragic news to her.
Lopez promised a truly “heartfelt” tribute for Kobe, one which sports fans from across the globe could look forward to.
Super Bowl 2020 Pays Respects To Kobe & Gianna Bryant, Other Lives Lost In Helicopter Crash
Prior to kickoff, fans watching the broadcast of the big game — as well as those in attendance — were called on to participate in a brief moment of silence for Kobe, his daughter Gianna, and the seven other individuals who perished in the helicopter crash of January 26.
A solemn air swept over the Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens as thousands observed this moment of silence, the names of the deceased juxtaposed against a photo of Kobe and Gianna on the jumbotron.
Shakira and Lopez would go on to deliver a boisterous and inclusive performance during the halftime show. The crowd was extremely energetic throughout, with the commentators calling the game poking a little fun at panelist Michael Strahan for moving his body to the pounding beats of the music. Pyrotechnics of all colors of the rainbow illuminated the night sky to punctuate the proceedings, and the audience roared their approval throughout the lively musical medleys.
Kobe Bryant’s Death Saw Many Celebrities, Athletes United In Grief
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Kobe was so much more than an athlete, he was a family man. That was what we had most in common. We love our families. Whenever we got together I would hug his children like they were my own and he would embrace my kids like they were his. His baby girl Gianna was born on the same day as my youngest daughter Me’Arah. I miss you already brother. This is truly unbelievable. Everyone please keep the Bryant’s in your prayers. R.I.P
While Kobe Bryant is best known for his incredible prowess on the basketball court, his reputation for being a kind and generous person allowed him into the hearts of many. Athletes, celebrities, and fans from all walks of life have united in paying homage to one of the all-time hoops greats on social media.
According to Entertainment Tonight, a massive outpouring of grief, support, and condolences took place in the immediate aftermath of Bryant’s death; personalities ranging from Kim Kardashian to Mark Cuban to Shaquille O’Neal offered up raw emotion to all who would listen.
Justin Timberlake, the pop star responsible for the halftime show at Super Bowl 2018, was perhaps one of the most effusive in his condolences to Bryant’s family, sharing a lengthy and personal tribute to his fallen friend on Instagram.
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We met when we were both teenagers and bonded over our drive and process. I was in awe of what you could do with a basketball and knew your talent went beyond your physical gifts and stretched to your mentality. A mentality that I would take with me throughout my whole career and still use every day. As the years went by, I watched you do things that seemed humanly unimaginable. And, through ups and downs, championships and injuries, you still remained with an unwavering resolve about your mentality to remain fierce to competition. But, every time we would speak or text, something started to change… your patience and ease grew. And it inspired me to continue to grow for myself. Years passed, and the “old man” jokes would start to be traded back and forth. We both appreciated a good “ribbing.” We joked about “The Vino Club.” You nicknamed yourself ‘Vino’ to represent how one could age gracefully as a fine wine does. But, you never stopped aiming to inspire me. Your confidence in me was huge – it really affected me because I admired you so much. I don’t mean as one of the greatest athletes ever. I mean as a person. People sometimes can confuse a will to win with a lack of compassion. That wasn’t you. You had both qualities. The last conversation that we shared was about being fathers and what that meant. That was, beyond all the things that we could do in this world, our true legacy. Who our children are and what beautiful people they will become. And, I guess right now, without being able to find all the words, THAT father connection is what is most devastating for me. I am sending my love to Vanessa and your family and to the families of everyone connected in the mourning of this terrible tragedy. My heart is broken and my family lifts you up in our thoughts and prayers. Kobe… You have connected so many of us. The Mamba Mentality will last for all of time. I know that will be a source for me every day as it has been for so many days before. Your legacy is with us. It’s our responsibility to pass it down now. I hope I can continue to make you proud, Vino. Champ, MVP, Legend, Hero, Inspiration, Father, Friend. I’m gonna miss you, brother. Mamba forever.