After the tragic death of Kobe Bryant in 2020, a profoundly somber and emotional memorial was given for the basketball star. Beyoncé led the ceremony with a powerful performance of two of her songs. Dressed in a gold suit, she started her performance of “XO” before stopping and speaking to the audience. “I’m here because I love Kobe. This is one of his favourite songs.” She then began the song again, urging the audience to join in. “And I want you to sing it so loud he can hear your love.”
Kobe Bryant tragically died, along with his thirteen-year-old daughter Gianna and seven others, in a helicopter crash in California in 2020. Bryant and his daughter were given a private funeral in Pacific View Memorial Park. The public memorial took place on 24th February of that year, a month after their deaths. It was at the Staples Center (renamed Crypto.com Arena in 2021), which is often nicknamed “The House that Kobe Built” in recognition of Bryant’s achievements for the LA Lakers.
Twenty thousand mourners attended the public memorial. All proceeds went to the Mamba and Mambacita Sports Foundation, which promotes the positive impact of sports. The event was presented by Jimmy Kimmell, who was visibly overwhelmed when speaking about the star. Christina Aguilera and Alicia Keys performed songs, while tributes were given by basketball players such as Michael Jordan and Shaquille O’Neal. Bryant’s wife shared moving and humorous stories about her husband and daughter.
Beyoncé’s power ballad “XO” was released in 2013 and was taken from her fifth album “Beyoncé”. “Halo”, another power ballad, was released on her third album, 2008’s “I Am… Sasha Fierce”. The video of her performing these two tracks at Bryant’s memorial service has been watched over 21 million views on YouTube. Such an emotional performance from the world’s biggest pop singer was a fitting tribute to the legendary basketball star.