Grammy-nominated rapper Rick Ross joined the chorus of voices paying their respects to the late Kobe Bryant on Sunday, hours after the NBA superstar was killed in a helicopter crash alongside his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, and seven others.
Speaking to PeopleTV on the red carpet at the 62nd annual awards ceremony, Ross saluted Bryant’s professional accomplishments and called on the evening’s Grammy winners to honor the Lakers legend.
“I just feel like as a true champion, the champion Kobe was, I believe he would want us to celebrate his legacy — starting with tonight,” Ross said. “And whoever gets on that stage, whoever brings one of those home, they gotta hold it up for the Black Mamba.”
Reminded by Janine Rubenstein, senior music editor at PEOPLE, that the Grammys were being held “in [Bryant’s] house,” at Staples Center (where the Lakers play), Ross replied, “You better believe it.”
Bryant played his entire 20-year NBA career with the Los Angeles Lakers, retiring in 2016 as a five-time champion and 18-time All-Star.
Ross, a six-time Grammy nominee, is up for Best Rap Song this year, for “Gold Roses.”