Alicia Keys delivers tear-jerking Grammy tribute: ‘heartbroken in the house that Kobe Bryant built’

(Image: CBS screenshot)

Singer Alicia Keys took the stage at the 62nd Grammy Awards with a somber monologue honoring Lakers legend Kobe Bryant.

Keys paid tribute to the NBA star who died in a helicopter crash Sunday morning, telling the award show audience  gathered at the Staples Center in Los Angeles that they were “literally standing here heartbroken in the house that Kobe Bryant built.”

(Video: CBS)

“Here we are together on music’s biggest night, celebrating the artists that do it best,” Keys said following an opening song performed by Lizzo who dedicated her rendition of “Truth Hurts” to Bryant.

The basketball MVP was killed Sunday along with his 13-year-old daughter Gianna and seven others when the helicopter they were traveling in crashed above Calabasas, California.

“We’re all feeling crazy sadness right now. Because earlier today, Los Angeles, America and the whole wide world lost a hero,” Keys said Sunday evening. “And we’re literally standing here, heartbroken, in the house that Kobe Bryant built.”

“Right now, Kobe and his daughter Gianna and all of those that have been tragically lost today, are in our spirit, they’re in our hearts, they’re in our prayers, they’re in this building. And I would like to ask everybody to take a moment and just hold them inside of you. Hold them inside of you. And share our strength and our support with their families,” the 39-year-old Grammy winner continued.

“We never imagined in a million years we’d have to start the show like this. Never, never, never, never, never. So we wanted to do something that could describe a tiny bit how we all feel right now,” she said, as Boyz II Men joined her on stage to perform “It’s So Hard to Say Goodbye to Yesterday.”

(Image: CBS screenshot)

“We love you, Kobe,” Keys said at the end of the song as the cameras displayed two of Bryant’s illuminated jerseys in the arena where outside, thousands of fans had gathered.

Home to the Los Angeles Lakers, the Staples Center in downtown Los Angeles displayed photos on outdoor billboards of Bryant, the 18-time All-Star and five-time NBA champion, who spent his entire career there playing for the Lakers. The team retired Bryant’s No. 8 and No. 24 jerseys in 2017.

Sunday’s NBA games went on as scheduled as news of Bryant’s death became known, but teams found a way to honor him with moments of silence and other tributes. The San Antonio Spurs and the Toronto Raptors, among others, gave a nod to the 41-year-old legend by taking 24-second violations and eight-second backcourt violations.

Bryant’s jerseys remained illuminated on the wall of the Staples Center throughout the Grammys which saw other tributes during the ceremony.

Interim Recording Academy CEO Harvey Mason Jr. had opened a pre-telecast ceremony with a reference to the star.

“Since we are in his house, I would ask you to join me in a moment of silence,” Mason had said.

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Frieda Powers

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