While walking the red carpet at the fourth annual Entertainment Studios Oscar Gala on Feb. 9, in Beverly Hills, Tiffany Haddish opened up about her favorite memory of Kobe Bryant. The NBA legend passed away in a tragic helicopter crash alongside his 13-year-old daughter Gianna and seven other victims, just two weeks before the show. Since then fans have been mourning the loss.
“He used to tell me jokes, when I would run into him,” Tiffany told HollywoodLife EXCLUSIVELY, “little corny jokes. I’m going to miss that.” Although Tiffany kept the mood light on Oscar night, on Jan. 26, the day of Kobe’s tragic death, she shared her deep sadness on Instagram. Alongside a picture of Kobe, smiling wide and dressed in a tuxedo, Tiffany wrote: “This one is very painful. Rest in Peace King. I am praying for his Family.”
A “Celebration Of Life” memorial will be held for both Kobe and Gianna at LA’s Staples Center, on Feb. 24. But there have been multiple public tributes to the superstar in the 2 weeks since his death — including during the Oscars ceremony. Not only was Kobe honored in the In Memoriam segment, he was also recognized by Spike Lee before the show even got started. The outspoken director walked the Oscars red carpet wearing a purple and gold suit jacket with number 24 — Kobe’s Los Angeles Lakers jersey number — emblazoned on the front and back. Later, during the show Matthew A. Cherry dedicated his award for Best Animated Short Film to Kobe.
As fans of Kobe know he won an Oscar for Best Animated Short Film in 2018, so the dedication was very fitting. Kobe’s animated film, Dear Basketball, was inspired by the letter he penned for The Players’ Tribune that broke news of his basketball retirement in 2015. Kobe wrote and directed the short film and in his acceptance speech he joked about doing more than just playing ball. “I mean, as basketball players, we’re really supposed to shut up and dribble. I’m glad we do a little bit more than that.”