Bryant was the first star who was recognized in the montage. His image appeared on the screen for the audience and viewers at home to see while pop star Billie Eilish sang The Beatles' “Yesterday” and pictures of those who passed away during the past year were splashed behind her.
To the left of Bryant’s picture appeared a quote made by the five-time NBA champion, who won an Oscar in 2018 for best animated short film for “Dear Basketball,” based on a letter he wrote documenting his love for the sport.
“Life is too short to get bogged down and be discouraged. You have to keep moving, you have to keep going,” read the quote.
"To my wife, Vanessa; our daughters, Natalia, Gianna, and Bianka; ti amo con tutto il cuore. You are my inspiration. Thank you so much," he said. The Italian portion translates to "I love you with all my heart."
Director Spike Lee also paid tribute to Bryant at Sunday’s Oscars by wearing a purple suit, accented by yellow — both the Lakers’ colors — with the number 24 on his lapel. Bryant wore that number for part of his career.