As Rick Ross celebrated his latest Grammy nomination on the Grammys red carpet Sunday (Jan. 26), he also took time to celebrate basketball legend Kobe Bryant’s legacy after the tragic news of his death earlier in the day.
“The couple times I got to run across Kobe, it was real short and brief, but I let him know I was a huge fan of his career, and he let me know the same man,” Ross said when reflecting on his fondest memory of Bryant. “As a true champion, I believe he would want us to celebrate his legacy, so when I think about him I’m [going to] think of all the highlights. It’s going to be a highlight reel, and that’s what I think a real champion would do as well. It’s going to go from him being a great dad, a great example, as well as that dude that scored 81, so it’s all good.”
Ross also paid tribute to the late Nipsey Hussle, whom inspired “Gold Roses,” the rapper’s Drake collaboration that is up for best rap song.
“That was me and Drake having a conversation and Nipsey came up, and that was one of the things we discussed, receiving your roses while you’re hear to enjoy them,” Ross told Billboard about the process behind ‘Gold Roses.’ “I really wish Nip was here to see this energy behind his movement, ‘The Marathon Continues.’ To me, this is the highlight of the night, that Nipsey Hussle moment, watching [DJ] Khaled, Meek Mill, John Legend, YG, represent my homie Nipsey Hussle. I wish he was here to witness this.”
Nipsey, who was killed on March 31, 2019, will be honored during the ceremony in a tribute with appearances from Kirk Franklin, DJ Khaled, John Legend, Meek Mill, Roddy Ricch and YG. Ahead of the star-studded homage, Ross shared his favorite memory of Nipsey.
“The first time we really got together and got in the studio,” he said, “and I saw, me being a fan of his music that I was hearing online, and then we kicked it a couple times, but I actually got to witness him get in the studio and put his verse down. And that’s when I knew that it was official, that he was going to most definitely be a huge success.”
Watch what Ross had to say about Kobe Bryant above, and Nipsey Hussle below.