Jennifer Hudson Sings Moving Tribute to Kobe Bryant to Start NBA All-Star Game, And Twitter Wept

The 2020 NBA All-Star Game kicked off Sunday night in Chicago with Magic Johnson remembering former commissioner David Stern and former star player Kobe Bryant, who both recently lost their lives.

Johnson said Stern "saved my life, and the lives of millions of people" when Stern allowed him to play the 1992 All-Star Game in Orlando after Johnson announced he was HIV positive.

After Johnson gave his moving tribute to Stern and then Bryant, Chicago native Jennifer Hudson entered the stage at the United Center. Hudson, who is an Oscar-winning singer and actress, sang a stirring rendition of "For All We Know (We May Meet Again)" while images of Kobe Bryant were shown in the background.

Bryant and his daughter, Gianna, along with seven other people, were killed in a helicopter crash on January 26 outside of Los Angeles.

Bryant was an 18-time all-star, a five-time NBA champion and two-time Olympic gold medalist. He is fourth on the NBA's career scoring list, falling from third to fourth on the night before he perished.

On Saturday night, NBA commissioner Adam Silver officially made the announcement that the all-star MVP award would be named after Kobe Bryant, who won the award four times.

"We will never see another basketball player quite like Kobe," said Johnson, who asked everyone in attendance to hold someone's hand. He then held an eight-second moment of silence, as one of Kobe's retired numbers was 8. The other was 24. Johnson continued, "He was passionate about being a great father, husband, filmmaker."

Players from Team LeBron James wore No. 2 on all of their jerseys, which is the number Gianna wore in her youth basketball league. Team Giannis wore No. 24 in honor of Kobe.

Jennifer Hudson
Jennifer Hudson performs a tribute to Kobe Bryant before the 69th NBA All-Star Game at the United Center on February 16, 2020 in Chicago, Illinois. Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

But before the game, and before the U.S. national anthem by Chaka Khan, Hudson took the stage and gave a moving performance had Twitter getting emotional as well.

Jennifer Hudson gave a stirring tribute to Kobe Bryant at the 2020 NBA All-Star Game

— Miss Table Talk (@MissTableTalk) February 17, 2020

Jennifer Hudson and Common killed that All Star Pre Game Performance... I still have Goosebumps!!!

— MISS JANELLE SHANKS (@BadGirlJanelle) February 17, 2020

That Jennifer Hudson performance and tribute was seriously powerful. Loved Common as well. Good job @nba

— Isaac Constans (@IsaacConstans) February 17, 2020

jennifer hudson’s voice is a sledgehammer of emotion

— Shea Serrano (@SheaSerrano) February 17, 2020

Jennifer Hudson Kobe Tribute got me like #NBAAllStarGame

— Daddy Dom😈 (@domiono) February 17, 2020

Me getting excited about the allstar game and then Jennifer Hudson blowing us all away with this Kobe tribute

— Malika (@malikasade) February 17, 2020

Common got on stage after Hudson and gave a tribute to players who originated from Chicago, and then to players like Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen, who came to the city and guided the hometown Bulls to six NBA titles in the 1990s.

Common then introduced each player in the all-star game, equipped with a rhyme to coincide their introductions.

As for the game's format, the teams are scheduled to play three separate 12-minute games, with the winner of each of those quarters (games) getting $100,000 for a win, with that money going to a local Chicago charity. The total scores are added up to start the fourth quarter, and the teams will play to a set score (the higher score plus 24, in honor of Kobe).

About the writer

Scott McDonald is a Newsweek deputy night editor based in Cape Coral, Florida. His focus is assigning and writing stories across all topics, from news to politics, business, weather, sports and international news. Scott joined Newsweek in 2018 after a lengthy career of print journalism in Texas, including The Dallas Morning News, where he was a sportswriter, and he's a voter for the Heisman Trophy. He has been a newspaper editor-in-chief and also a newspaper publisher. He is a graduate of The University of Texas at Austin. You can get in touch with Scott by emailing Languages: English

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