Filmmaker and basketball superfan Spike Lee paid tribute to Kobe Bryant on the 2020 Oscars red carpet by wearing a purple suit emblazoned with the late sports icon’s jersey number.
The Los Angeles Lakers legend, his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, and seven others were killed in a helicopter crash in California on January 26, 2020.
Lee was among the fans left devastated by the tragedy, and he decided to salute Kobe’s legacy on Sunday (February 9, 2020) by wearing a custom Gucci suit in the Lakers‘ team colors of purple and gold as he arrived at Los Angeles’ Dolby Theater for Hollywood’s big night.
The gold-trimmed lapels of his suit jacket featured the digits ‘2’ and ‘4’ in a nod to Kobe’s jersey number.
A somber Spike revealed he wanted to pay “tribute” and “homage” to the superstar and Oscar winner, telling ABC, “We all miss him.”
The director, an avid New York Knicks fan, admitted he wasn’t present in 2018 when Kobe’s Dear Basketball was awarded the gong for Best Animated Short Film, but joked about being beaten to the honor by his late pal.
“He beat me!” laughed Spike, who eventually won an Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay – for BlacKkKlansman – last year (2019).
“I’m a presenter tonight, but at the same time I want to represent,” he shared of his choice of outfit.
“Presenting and representing, (I’m) doing both tonight.”
The Academy Awards are also set to include a special tribute to Bryant.