Usher sits alone in the stands at Staples Center before his performance in a ceremony honoring the recently deceased Lakers star before a game against the Portland Trailblazers in Los Angeles on Friday, Jan. 31, 2020. (Wally Skalij/Los Angeles Times/TNS)
Photo: Wally Skalij/TNS
Photo: Wally Skalij/TNS

Watch Usher perform a heart-tugging ‘Amazing Grace’ for Kobe Bryant 

Before the Los Angeles Lakers hit the Staples Center court Friday night for their first home game since the tragic death of Kobe Bryant, his 13-year-old daughter Gianna and seven others in last weekend’s helicopter crash, Atlanta’s Usher provided some musical healing.

Standing center court in a black suit, with purple and gold flower wreaths carved in Bryant’s jersey numbers of 8 and 24 behind him, Usher unfurled a deliberate and heart-tugging rendition of “Amazing Grace.”

Only pockets of cellphone lights dotted the darkened arena as Usher, backed by an organ, powered the song with ad libs that overflowed with gospel passion.  

Earlier, Usher was photographed sitting alone in the arena amid a sea of Bryant jerseys bearing No. 24, which the Staples Center gifted fans at the game.

This week, Usher and T.I. were among the artists who supported a petition to change the NBA logo to honor Bryant. 

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About the Author

Melissa Ruggieri
Melissa Ruggieri
Atlanta Journal-Constitution staff writer Melissa Ruggieri covers music and entertainment news for the AJC. She remembers when MTV was awesome.