Kendrick Lamar broke his vow of music silence to pay tribute to the late basketball legend Kobe Bryant on what would have been his 42nd birthday Sunday.
The Grammy-winning rapper gave a chill spoken word performance for NIKE’s “Better | Mamba Forever” ad, as part of Nike’s seven-day tribute to Kobe’s legacy.
The video featured footage of early and recent footage of Kobe, friends, and fellow athletes such as Michael Jordan, the San Franciso 49ers, as well as images of his daughter, Gianna.
Kendrick described Kobe as someone who inspired the “better” version in all of us.
“Kobe taught us to be better,” Lamar says in the inspiring visual. “Better dreamer. Better waker. Better stretcher. Better walker. Better talker. Better walking the walk and talking the talk. Better blocker. Better sprinter. Better loser. Better winner. Just be better.”
Tennis star Naomi Osaka, who appeared in the video, also paid tribute to Kobe, who watched her play at the U.S. Open last year.
“Happy birthday Mamba,” she captioned a picture collage of Kobe on Instagram. “At the US Open right now and I practiced on Armstrong so I had a lot of memories of you in my box. That was fun, wish we could’ve done it again. Miss you.”
Kobe and Gianna died in a helicopter accident in January, along with several other individuals.
Kobe will also be honored with a new signature shoe, which was scheduled to be released today, Mamba Day, August 24th.
By Rachel George
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