After helping honor Kobe Bryant’s life during the Grammy Awards, musician Alicia Keys paid tribute to the future Hall of Fame basketball player again during Bryant’s memorial service at the Staples Center.
On Monday, Feb. 24, Keys sat at a piano and joined an orchestra of violinists to play her version of Beethoven’s “Moonlight Sonata.” As Los Angeles Lakers General Manager Rob Pelinka said of his friend, Bryant learned to play Beethoven’s masterpiece by ear as a gift to his wife. But he didn’t take lessons from a professional; in pure Kobe fashion, he learned to play the iconic composition by ear.
“Sitting down and taking lessons would be too easy. So I taught myself by ear,” Bryant said, according to a story by Bleacher Report. “…If you just sit down and say, ‘I’m going to learn this thing until I do,’ there’s not really much out there that you can’t figure out eventually.”
Keys, wearing a purple outfit, played the song as the jumbotron in Staples Center showed images of Bryant with his teenaged daughter Gianna. As the performance ended, she appeared to be fighting tears as she showed gratitude toward the audience and to her fellow musicians.
Kobe and Giana were among nine people who died in a helicopter crash on Sunday, January 26, 2020.
Alicia Keys performing Beethoven’s “Moonlight Sonata” at the Kobe & Gianna Celebration of Life.
One of Kobe’s favorite pieces of music. One he learned to play on the piano as a surprise for Vanessa. pic.twitter.com/4t2UnoBnhK
— Steve Mason (@VeniceMase) February 24, 2020