Bryant closed out the awards ceremony's In Memoriam segment, which led seamlessly into Wayne's performance of his 2009 song "Kobe Bryant." Videos from Bryant's legendary career with the Los Angeles Lakers played as Wayne rapped, "This is Black power status / Two fingers for the Mambacita / I'm screamin' Black Mamba matters."
"Heart goes out to Vanessa and the whole Black Mamba family," he continued. "Rest in power / Let's hope for peace / Black lives matter, facts."
This isn't the first time the rapper has remembered Bryant. In January, when Lil Wayne released his album Funeral, one track, "Bing James," included 24 seconds of silence. The quiet seconds were a nod to Bryant's Lakers number, 24.
In a March interview on MTV’s Fresh Out Live, Lil Wayne praised Bryant as someone who "strived to be the best in everything."
"What I admire the most is how [his legacy] evolved. We knew him as the kid phenom straight from high school... He hit the league and murked it.. [then] he became a champion," he said. "It’s very hard to become a champion... He did it again and then again."