Rapper Lil Wayne paid tribute to the basketball legend with a 24-second moment of silence, a nod to the NBA star’s jersey number.
Lil Wayne spent years working on his new album Funeral, but after the tragic death of Kobe Bryant, the rapper made a last-minute addition to the eighth track, “Bing James”. The 37-year-old honored the Los Angeles Lakers legend with a 24-second moment of silence, a nod to the jersey worn by Kobe throughout his legendary 20-year career. The singer’s new album dropped on Jan. 31, less that one week after the tragic helicopter crash that killed Kobe and eight other people on board, including his 13-year-old daughter Gianna. Appearing on the FOX Sports show Undisputed on Jan. 31, Lil Wayne credited his producers who worked on the album for being able to make changes to the track, just hours before it was finalized. “The message that LeBron said, ‘I’m going to go out and do it for you.’ I believe that’s the message of every single player in the NBA. That’s how they all feel,” Lil Wayne told the interviewers.
He also explained how the idea for the 24 seconds of silence happened. “That right there, I have to thank my big brother Mack. You know that was an idea he called me with right then and there. A day later, he called me with this idea he thought of and of course I confirmed it, I agreed with it,” Lil Wayne explained. In an interview on Apple Music’s Beats 1, Lil Wayne spoke further about the loss of the basketball legend, “Everybody know, obviously very terrible day for sports. But as far as me and with my concern and my thoughts and prayers was just for the family of Mr. Bryant and the family of the others’ lives that were lost from the tragedy, and the situation, the accident,” he explained. “I have kids, man. I have four kids. And I have a beautiful daughter, and I cannot imagine. And I’ve been trying not to imagine. Again, thoughts and prayers to the families.”
Along with the 24-second silence, Lil Wayne also shouts out “Black Mamba” in the chorus of another song on the new album — a song called “Ball Hard.” In addition to these tributes on the rapper’s 13th studio album, he also took to Instagram on Jan. 27 to share a photo of him fist-bumping the basketball legend with the caption, “Forever love. 824”. A sweet tribute from the rapper who is a longtime basketball fan.