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The world was rocked in the end of January with the death of basketball legend Kobe Bryant, who died along with his daughter and seven others in a helicopter crash. Music superstar Jennifer Lopez found out about Bryant's death while she was preparing for her performance in the Super Bowl 2020 halftime show. Sharing the story of how she learned the tragic news courtesy of fiancé Alex Rodriguez, Lopez said this:
I was in the middle of rehearsing and talking about the show and Alex came to me with tears in his eyes, and he’s like, ‘You’re not gonna believe what happened.’ And he was devastated. I think it’s affecting everybody so much because it’s just reminding us again how fragile life is and how we have to appreciate every single moment.
Jennifer Lopez was busy getting ready for the Super Bowl 2020 halftime show (for which she will not be paid, like other Super Bowl halftime performers before her) when Alex Rodriguez broke the sad news of Kobe Bryant's death. According to Lopez at a press conference ahead of the Super Bowl (via ABC News), Rodriguez was already emotional when he came to tell her what had happened, and Bryant's death clearly continues to impact Lopez.
It was announced ahead of the Super Bowl that the broadcast would pay tribute to Kobe Bryant, whose legacy as an athlete and pop culture figure clearly transcends his own sport. CNN reports Jennifer Lopez promised a "heartfelt" moment in honor of Bryant, and fellow halftime show performer Shakira elaborated, saying this:
We'll all be remembering Kobe on Sunday and celebrating life and diversity in this country. I'm sure he'd be very proud to see the message we are trying to convey on stage that day.
Jennifer Lopez and Shakira aren't the only ones to speak out about Kobe Bryant, the impact of his death, and what he leaves behind. His collaborators from his Academy Award-winning project shared what he meant to them, and they're only some of those who honored him. Among those, Planters altered its ad campaign for the Super Bowl shortly after Bryant died.
Planters' campaign revolved around the death of longtime mascot Mr. Peanut, who died in a car crash in a commercial released ahead of the big game. His funeral was set to be broadcast during the came itself. Although the funeral commercial will reportedly still run, the company did "pause" on how hard it was going on Mr. Peanut's death via car crash due to Kobe Bryant's death.
Jennifer Lopez's tribute to Kobe Bryant will hopefully go off without a hitch, unlike some broadcasts after the tragedy. BBC aired footage of LeBron James during a report on the death (for which the network apologized), and an ABC reporter was suspended for making an inaccurate statement regarding the helicopter crash.
The Super Bowl debuted on Fox Sunday, February 2 at 6:30 p.m. ET, with Jennifer Lopez and Shakira hitting the stage at halftime.