Ellen DeGeneres Pays Tearful Tribute To Kobe Bryant, Urges Viewers To “Celebrate Life”Deadline — Greg Evans
In two segments on what was intended as a happy birthday episode of her daytime talk show, Ellen DeGeneres paid tribute to, and shed tears for, Kobe Bryant, the basketball great, his daughter Gianna and the others who died in Sunday’s helicopter crash.
Taped yesterday, with emotions still raw, The Ellen DeGeneres Show episode airing today (the host’s 62nd birthday), was supposed to be celebratory, but after news of Bryant’s death “everything changed in a second,” DeGeneres says in an emotional opening address to the audience.
Urging her audience to “celebrate life” every day, DeGeneres says, “If you haven’t told someone you love ‘em, do it now…And be nice to people at the DMV. They’re people, too.”
DeGeneres then expresses her love for her audience, her co-workers, and, with humor, her appreciation to have a wife who loves her despite her Grammy loss Sunday night.
In another segment on today’s show, DeGeneres introduces clips from past episodes featuring Bryant, when the athlete-turned-producer surprised guests and audience members. Yesterday, ABC’s The View offered a similar tribute, airing a clip of Bryant surprising two young fans on the show.
Watch the DeGeneres and View clip segments below, and DeGeneres’ opening tribute above.
“Our hearts go out to Kobe’s family and all the families who lost love ones on Sunday,” DeGeneres said in closing, before adding her favorite sign-off. “Be kind to one another.”