Jennifer Hudson Gives Touching Kobe Bryant Tribute at the 2020 NBA All-Star Game

On Sunday night, Jennifer Hudson paid tribute to Kobe Bryant, his teenage daughter and the seven other victims who tragically passed away in a helicopter crash last month.

By Alyssa Morin Feb 17, 2020 1:18 AMTags
Jennifer Hudson Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Jennifer Hudson swept everyone away on Sunday night.

During the 2020 NBA All-Star game, the Oscar winner paid a special tribute to the late Kobe Bryant, his 13-year-old daughter Gianna Maria-Onore Bryant and the seven others who were tragically killed in a helicopter crash last month.

For her performance, Hudson donned a purple velvet long-sleeve dress and gold drop-earrings that were a tribute in and of itself to Bryant.

The songstress' touching tribute kicked things off. Common also honored the 41-year-old star, before introducing the players.

At the time of Bryant's death, Hudson shared her heartache over the news. "It's like every time I go to sleep and then wake up somebody else is gone," she wrote on Instagram. "This news hurts my heart so bad!"

In addition to Hudson's moving performance, LeBron James' team will honor Gianna by wearing jerseys with the No. 2. Moreover, Giannis Antetokounmpo's team will sport jerseys with the No. 24, which celebrated the late Lakers icon.

Queen Latifah Honors Kobe Bryant During Her 2020 NBA All-Star Performance

Before she took to the stage, Magic Johnson opened up the sporting event with an incredibly moving tribute.

"We are all hurting," he said. "This is a tough time for the whole NBA family, and if I can get you all to rise right quick."

The crowd quickly broke into a chant, yelling the legend's name.


"We need to really embrace each other at this time, this tough time," Johnson said, before holding an eight-second moment of silence. "Come together, love each other. Kobe would have wanted that. That's very important. And if we can just have it quiet for eight seconds. God bless you."

Making Johnson and Hudson's appearance even more special? E! News has learned that right before they went out to the court, they joined hands in a prayer. Magic led the prayer.

Watch: Kobe Bryant & Daughter Gianna Have Been Laid to Rest

Tonight will also mark the first time players are awarded the newly re-named NBA All-Star Game MVP Award, which has now been changed to honor Bryant.

On Saturday evening, the NBA Commissioner announced the update.

"Kobe Bryant is synonymous with NBA All-Star and embodies the spirit of this global celebration of our game," Adam Silver said in a statement that was shared with E! News. "He always relished the opportunity to compete with the best of the best and perform at the highest level for millions of fans around the world."

Despite the NBA All-Star game coming to a close on Sunday night, the league will continue to honor Kobe. On Monday, Feb. 24, the Staples Center in Los Angeles will host a public memorial service for the late Lakers star. 

Earlier this week, Kobe and Gianna were laid to rest in a private funeral service. Additionally, three other victims, Gianna's teammate Alyssa Altobelli and her parents, were eulogized during a public memorial in Anaheim, Calif. on Monday.