February 10, 2020
Basketball great Kobe Bryant has been remembered at the 92nd Academy Awards in Hollywood, with tributes from tinseltown luminaries including Spike Lee, who wore a suit inspired by the LA Laker.
Bryant was killed aged 41, along with his daughter Gianna and seven others, in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California, in January. He had retired in 2016, after a spectacular 20-year career with the LA Lakers that included five NBA championships and two Team USA gold medals at the Olympic Games.
Bryant was the first person named in the in memoriam section dedicated to film industry figures who have died in the last 12 months.
Lee appeared at the ceremony wearing a purple and gold suit – the colours of Bryant’s former team – with the number 24 sown on to the lapels and back in homage to the NBA all-star, who wore that number during the second half of his career.
Matthew A Cherry, who won the best animated short award for Hair Love, along with Karen Rupert Toliver, dedicated the award to Bryant, saying: “May we all have a second act as strong as his was”.
In 2018, Bryant won an Oscar for best animated short film for Dear Basketball, an adaptation of a poem he published to explain his love for the game just prior to his retirement. The Guardian’s critic Peter Bradshaw described it as a “melancholy, thoughtful film”.
The Lakers’ memorial for Bryant is planned for 24 February at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.