Kobe Bryant death: Kanye West, Drake, Kendrick Lamar and Jay-Z lead artist tributes to NBA star

NBA star was name-checked in a number of tracks by some of the world’s most famous artists

Roisin O'Connor
Sunday 26 January 2020 23:53 GMT
Basketball legend Kobe Bryant dead aged 41

Some of the world’s most famous musicians are paying tribute to five-time NBA champion Kobe Bryant, after he died in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California on Sunday 26 January.

The 41-year-old was among at least five people who died in the crash. According to reports, Bryant’s 13-year-old daughter, Gianna Maria-Onore Bryant, also died.

Musicians including Kanye West, Kendrick Lamar, Drake, Cardi B, Lil Wayne, Meek Mill, A$AP Rocky, Vince Staples, Jay-Z, Justin Timberlake and Ice Cube.

More artists, such as Justin Bieber, Taylor Swift, Lil Wayne, Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon, Killer Mike and Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist Flea, also paid their respects.

Obama, who referenced Bryant when he left the White House in 2016 with his famous mic-drop, wrote: “Kobe was a legend on the court and just getting started in what would have been just as meaningful a second act. To lose Gianna is even more heartbreaking to us as parents. Michelle and I send love and prayers to Vanessa and the entire Bryant family on an unthinkable day.”

Bryant’s status as a cultural icon led to him being regularly name-checked in music by artists who counted themselves as fans, particularly rappers, such as Jay-Z, Kanye West and Lil Wayne.

He even released his own single, titled “K.O.B.E”, via Columbia Records In 1999.

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