Spike Lee's Kobe Bryant-themed suit leads tributes for Lakers great at Oscars

HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - FEBRUARY 09: Spike Lee attends the 92nd Annual Academy Awards at Hollywood and Highland on February 09, 2020 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Amy Sussman/Getty Images)
Kobe Bryant wasn't just a basketball player. (Amy Sussman/Getty Images)

The loss of Kobe Bryant wasn’t just felt in the basketball world.

The Los Angeles Lakers legend was also an Oscar-winning filmmaker after his NBA retirement, so it was only natural that the biggest event in show business honored him as well.

Leading the tributes to Bryant at the 92nd Academy Awards on Sunday — two weeks after his death in a helicopter crash that killed eight others — was director Spike Lee, well known for his NBA fandom and a friend of Bryant.

"Tribute, honor, homage ... we all miss him,” Lee said on the red carpet before the show.

Bryant entered the world of filmmaking with a short film based upon his poem “Dear Basketball,” which won the 2017 award for Best Animated Short Film. The award made Bryant the first former professional athlete to win an Oscar, and helped cement Bryant as a cultural icon.

Incredibly enough, the winner of this year’s Best Animated Short Film was also a former professional athlete, ex-NFL wide receiver Matthew Cherry. The director of “Hair Love” dedicated the award to Bryant.

The honors continued with the show’s annual “In Memoriam” segment, in which Bryant was the first name shown.

In the two weeks since Bryant’s death, he has been honored in just about every basketball arena, soccer arenas, the Grammys, the Super Bowl, the U.S. Senate and now the Oscars. His death has been felt everywhere, just another reminder of his transcendent talent.

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