Kobe Bryant was officially confirmed dead on Sunday, January 26, following a helicopter crash. The tragic news came mere hours before the 2020 Grammys red carpet began in full force at the Staples Center in Downtown Los Angeles. Forty-one-year-old Bryant’s lifelong NBA team, the Los Angeles Lakers, are based in the Staples Center, making the West Coast stadium Bryant’s official sports home during his career (he retired in 2016). Bryant’s young daughter Gianna "Gigi" Maria-Onore Bryant, age 13, was also confirmed dead in the accident.
After 20 years of playing in the Staples Center, many Bryant fans and mourners have called for the Grammys to immediately vacate Bryant’s home court in the wake of his and his daughter's untimely death.
“No one cares about the Grammys. Don’t they know the Staples Center was the place where Kobe wrote his own history,” wrote one fan in all capital letters. “I have no words. Cancel the whole award show QUICKLY.”
Even Chrissy Teigen, who was in downtown L.A. following the news of Bryant’s death, added her voice to the upsetting discourse. “Downtown right now and nothing feels more unimportant than what we are doing today. This is absolutely terrible,” Teigen wrote. “Everyone is numb.”
Los Angeles authorities have requested that mourners refrain from gathering outside the Staples Center following Bryant's death.
Still, the Recording Academy, which hosts the Grammys, is reportedly working to quickly add a tribute to the Bryants during the 2020 ceremony. Grief-stricken supporters of the basketball superstar still do not believe the decision is enough.
“No one wants to see some half-ass tribute dedicated to Kobe nor his daughter tonight,” said one Twitter user. “A three-second moment of silence before y’all go back to kissing your own ass isn’t needed tonight either cancel all together or reschedule.”
E! News, which hosts the Grammy red carpet show, was struck by how to move forward. “It’s just such a tragedy,” sad Giuliana Rancic at the top of the 2020 Grammys special. “Just 41 years old. He lived so much life, with so much life left to live.”
The Grammys are still scheduled to begin at 8 p.m. Eastern on CBS.