The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences honored Kobe Bryant with an emotional tribute during the 2020 Oscars Sunday night. As celebrity A-listers packed into the Dolby Theater for the year's biggest awards show, an emotional moment was displayed on-screen during the In Memoriam for Bryant, who died in a helicopter alongside his 13-year daughter Gianna and seven others exactly two weeks ago.
Steven Spielberg introduced the In Memoriam, which saw Billie Eilish perform "Yesterday" by The Beatles. In the background, Bryant was seen holding his Oscar as he was the first one shown.
"Life is too short to get bogged down and be discouraged. You have to keep moving. You have to keep going," the words read on his image. The moment hit many on social media pretty hard.
Ahead of Sunday's ceremony, the Academy had confirmed in a statement to Deadline that it intended to hold a tribute for the late Lakers player, though it did not expand on whether that tribute would be part of the annual In Memoriam feature or a tribute outside of that.
"We can confirm that Kobe Bryant will be acknowledged in the telecast," the Academy said.
During the acceptance speech for the Best Animated Short Oscar won by Hair Love, Matthew A. Cherry gave a nod to the former Los Angeles Lakers star.
Following Bryant's death, the Academy, along with holding a moment of silence for the victims of the crash during the annual Oscar Nominees Luncheon, had paid tribute to the late legend on Instagram.
"They doubted a kid could make it in the NBA and he proved them wrong. They doubted he could win a championship and he proved them wrong. They doubted he could make movies and he won an Oscar," the Academy wrote. "Like all great artists, Kobe Bryant proved the doubters wrong. Rest in peace."
View this post on Instagram
Along with an NBA career that spanned two decades, during which he played under the numbers 8 and 24 for the Los Angeles Lakers, Bryant also had a budding career in the world of film. The five-time NBA champion won the Oscar for Best Animated Short Film during the 2018 Oscars for his short film Dear Basketball, which centered around a letter he had written in The Players' Tribune in November 2015, where he announced his retirement from basketball. The win cemented Bryant's place as the professional athlete to win an Academy Award.
"To my wife Vanessa and our daughters Natalia, Gianna and Bianka, ti amo con tutto il cuore [I love you with all my heart]," Bryant said in part during his acceptance speech. "You are my inspiration."
Bryant, 41, his 13-year-old daughter Gianna, and seven others had been traveling to a basketball game at Mamba Sports Academy on Sunday, Jan. 26 when they encountered dense fog and crashed into a Calabasas, California hillside, killing everyone on board.
Along with Bryant and his daughter, the other victims of the crash are Orange Coast College baseball coach John Altobelli, his wife Keri Altobelli and their daughter Alyssa, Sarah Chester and her daughter Payton, girls basketball coach Christina Mauser, and pilot Ara Zobayan.