FOR the first-ever virtual ESPYs, streamed online this morning (Manila time), rapper Snoop Dogg unveiled a moving tribute to the late Kobe Bryant.
Over tinkling piano chords, Snoop rapped: "All grit no smile ... Let's do it mamba style."
The pensive tune tackled the beginnings of Kobe’s career (“Trying to find his direction / and make that connection / not knowing what to expect and / takin’ it step by step and”) all the way to his rise to the top.
Or as Snoop put it: "Back-to-back-to-back champion. Gunnin' for the pantheon. The L.A. X-factor."
Footage of Kobe’s past exploits, as well as the many, many murals dedicated to the Lakers great served as background footage for Snoop’s verses.
The legendary rapper last released an album in August of last year. He’s also made brief cameos in movies like SpongeBob Squarepants: Sponge on the Run and Netflix’s Dolemite Is My Name.
The ESPY Awards are ESPN’s annual tribute to athletes, teams, and sports organizations that are making a difference.
The virtual ceremony was held in a bracing time in American history when athletes are taking the lead in protests supporting the Black Lives Matter movement. Hosts Russell Wilson of the Seattle Seahawks, Megan Rapinoe of the US women's national soccer team, and Sue Bird of the WNBA's Seattle Storm began the ESPYs with a tribute to George Floyd and other recent victims of racial violence.
The Minnesota Twin’s Nelson Cruz was granted the Muhammad Ali Humanitarian of the Year Award. The Los Angeles Dodgers were honored as the Sports Humanitarian Team of the Year. Nike was given the Corporate Community Impact Award.
The Clevaland Cavaliers' Kevin Love was honored with the Arthur Ashe Courage Award for his work in promoting mental health awareness.