While the tragedy wasn’t directly addressed during the episode, host J.J. Watt and some of the show’s cast members used the closing credits to memorialize the late icon.
While sharing his thanks to the cast and crew, Watt rocked a Los Angeles Lakers jersey featuring Bryant’s number, 24. He also crumpled up a note card and tossed it like a free throw.
Meanwhile, cast members Melissa Villaseñor and Chris Redd followed his cue. Villaseñor donned Lakers sweater while Redd wore a t-shirt featuring Bryant’s image.
It was a sweet, unintrusive way to pay respects in a manner that felt honest and genuine, and many fans took notice of the sweet moment.
The L.A. Lakers legend and his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna — as well as Alyssa, John and Keri Altobelli, Payton and Sarah Chester, Christina Mauser, and Ara Zobayan — died in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California, on Sunday.
The “SNL” tribute comes one day after the Lakers got back on the court to pay tribute to the NBA legend during their Friday game at Staples Center against the Portland Trail Blazers.
Before the game kicked off, Usher took the court to sing a beautiful rendition of “Amazing Grace,” with two purple-and-yellow floral arrangement of Bryant’s numbers. The crowd was visibly emotional and crying during the song, as the screens flashed videos of Bryant, NBA players paying their respects, and the words “RIP Kobe.”
LeBron James also addressed the crowd at the game and gave an emotional speech honouring the late icon. For more on the emotional memorial, watch the video below.
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