Lil Wayne and Kobe Bryant got to know each other well over the years before Bryant's death back in January. And because of that, Lil Wayne decided to pay tribute to the late Los Angeles Lakers legend by performing his song "Kobe Bryant" at the BET Awards on Sunday. The song was initially made in 2009, and before Bryant's death, he was on The Corp podcast and talked about the origin of the song.
"After the Denver series, [Wayne] called me," said Kobe, referring to the 2009 Western Conference Finals via Genius.com. "He was like, 'Man, that performance just motivated the hell out of me.' I think it was like game six." The Lakers won the series, thanks to Bryant, who scored 35 points with 10 assists. That led to Lil Wayne coming up with a song dedicated to Bryant.
"[Wayne] was like, 'I'ma do a song. Is it OK can I do a song?'" Kobe added. "I was like, alright, cool. I just thought he was bs-ing or whatever. Before the Celtics series, he sends me the song, and I was like, 'Oh, you were serious.' OK, that's awesome." This performance is not the first Lil Wayne paid tribute to Kobe Bryant this year. Just days after Bryant's death, Lil Wayne left a 24-second moment of silence on the eighth track of his album Funeral. Bryant wore No. 8 and No. 24 during his time with the Lakers.
Bryant died in a helicopter crash along with his daughter Gianna and seven other people on Jan. 26. As soon as the Lakers learned about Bryant's death, the team released an emotional statement.
"We are devastated and have been forever changed by the sudden loss of Kobe Bryant and his daughter, Gianna. We send our love to Vanessa, the Bryant family, and to the families of the other passengers," the Lakers said. "Words cannot express what Kobe means to the Los Angeles Lakers, our fans, and our city. More than a basketball player, he was a beloved father, husband, and teammate. Their love and light will remain in our hearts forever." Bryant was a member of the Lakers from 1996-2016. In his 20 years with the Lakers, Bryant won the MVP award, two NBA Finals MVPs and led the team to five NBA Championships.