Just two weeks ago and on the morning of the Grammy Awards, the world received news that legendary basketball athlete, Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna, among seven others were tragically killed in a helicopter crash in Calabasas. It ultimately shook the NBA community as well as his home of Los Angeles with the aftermath seen across the globe. Athletes as far as Melbourne’s Australian Open scribbled the number ’24’ on their sneakers to pay tribute to the passed star. But this evening another legend made a statement.
The annual Oscars ceremony is perhaps the most spectacular when it comes to sartorial moments. Among a sea of tulle and glitter won by the women – or in most cases, Billy Porter – the men of the hour can be seen wearing crips suits and smart tuxedos but for celebrated filmmaker Spike Lee, the evening was far more than just another black-tie event. Wearing Gucci no-less, Lee donned his usual purple frames and baker boy hat while his suit was created in purple with gold trimming. Bryant’s jersey number ’24’ was stitched onto the lapels of the suit as well as the back and ditching the usual patent oxfords, the 62 year-old wore nike sneakers – no doubt a collaborative partnership from the basketball player.
“Tribute, honour, homage,” Lee said of his suit on the red carpet. “We all miss him. I’m presenting tonight but at the same … I wanted to represent. I want to do both tonight.”
Lee is a known basketball fanatic and directed the 2009 documentary “Kobe: Doin’ Work” for ESPN. Last year, the filmmaker was seen wearing a purple suit in honour of Prince where he won an Oscar for Best Screenplay for Blackkklansman. Before that, in 2018, he won an Oscar for Best Animated Short Film for Dear Basketball. Lee will present tonight while it is expected that Kobe Bryant will be part of the ‘In Memoriam’ segment of the evening.