The 2020 Oscars ceremony will acknowledge Kobe Bryant’s death. The Los Angeles Lakers legend was one of nine people killed in a helicopter crash on Sunday, January 26. In the aftermath of the tragedy, people have spent time reflecting on Bryant’s legacy and the impact he had on the NBA. Everyone from Bryant’s celebrity fans and friends to NBA 2K20 players have paid their respects, offering their tributes as they mourn the lives lost in the accident.
Following his retirement at the conclusion of the 2015-16 NBA season, Bryant looked to transition into a media career. Perhaps his most notable achievement in that field is winning an Oscar for his animated short film, Dear Basketball (based on a poem he wrote). Of course, Bryant is best known for his 20-year NBA career with the Lakers, but he undeniably left a mark on the entertainment industry as well. And at the upcoming Oscars, there will be an opportunity to remember Bryant.
According to THR, the 92nd Academy Awards will acknowledge Bryant’s death in some capacity. The Oscars will be the second entertainment awards show to honor Bryant; the Grammys, which took place at the Staples Center (where the Lakers play their home games) on Sunday, featured multiple tributes from the various performers.
What’s unknown at this time is if Bryant will just be included in the In Memoriam segment or if something else is planned. His passing affected basketball fans around the world, but arguably hit those in Los Angeles (where the Oscars are held) the hardest. Bryant was an icon in the city, and in some respects was a bigger star than the Hollywood A-listers making the movies the Oscars recognize. It wouldn’t be surprising if the Academy put a special package together, looking back on what Bryant meant to Los Angeles. What happens, obviously, will be at the behest of the producers as they figure out the best course of action. The Oscars aren’t until February 9, so they have time to discuss their options.
Since the Oscars will not have a host for a second consecutive year (meaning no opening monologue), perhaps the evening could begin with a Bryant tribute before the first awards are handed out. Even if there isn’t anything bigger planned, it would be appropriate to make Bryant part of the In Memoriam, considering his connection to the Academy. He is the first professional athlete to be nominated for and win an Oscar, so he made history at the ceremony only a couple of years ago.