It was a shock on Sunday, Jan. 26, 2020, when news broke Kobe Bryant had died. The basketball phenomenon was only 41-years old when he and eight others, including his 13-year-old daughter, were killed in a helicopter crash. Though Kobe played basketball, not football, his shadow hangs large over the sports community. So it's no surprise there was a major Kobe Bryant tribute during the 2020 Super Bowl, especially with a California team playing in the Big Game.
Kobe's passing had already been the talk of Super Bowl week. Miami, where the game is being held, is a basketball town. Moreover, even though its a night centered around football players, many of them spent their childhoods watching sports of all kinds and grew up on Kobe Bryant as one of the leading lights of American sportsmanship. At the 2020 Super Bowl Opening Night on Monday, Jan. 27, several players from both teams, including Patrick Mahomes, Travis Kelce, and Richard Sherman, all spoke about how Bryant had been a hero to them.
Of course, the production behind the Super Bowl felt Bryant's passing should be noted. That's why, just before the 6 p.m. ET mark, the players took the field for a moment of silence for all those lost recently, including Bryant and all those on the helicopter that day. Both teams stood on their 24-yard line as a tribute to Bryant, who was known for wearing the Number 24 jersey.
As it ended, chants of "KOBE" could be heard across the stadium.
Prior to the game, both Shakira and Jennifer Lopez had discussed a Kobe Bryant tribute being part of the halftime show. But when the music started, it seemed, at least to those at home, as if that had been nixed.
But what viewers watching at home couldn't see was the light show around the stadium as Shakira and Lopez's set cut to Jennifer Lopez's daughter Emme singing "Let's Get Loud." It was purple and gold, Lakers colors, as a tribute to Kobe. Also, a large cross was projected on the field. Unfortunately, the camera stayed trained on Emme, and viewers at home missed it.
Considering that Kobe's death came late in the process of halftime rehearsal, it makes sense the show simply added color and projection for the tribute. It's just unfortunate that those at home couldn't see it.