(AllHipHop News) Nike bosses have tapped rapper Kendrick Lamar to front a new TV ad celebrating Kobe Bryant’s 42nd birthday.
The “Just Be Better” ad debuted on Sunday and featured footage of Kobe and other diversity figures in sport as Kendrick offered narration.
The rap star also briefly appeared, playing the piano. The ad begins with Lamar stating: “Kobe taught us to be better.”
The basketball legend and Oscar winner perished in a helicopter accident in January.
Meanwhile, Kobe’s widow, Vanessa Bryant, led the tributes to the sports hero on social media, confessing life for the family left behind ”feels so empty” without him.
Vanessa, who also lost her daughter Gigi in the helicopter crash, took to Instagram and wrote: “To my baby – Happy birthday. I love you and miss you more than I can ever explain. I wish you and Gigi were here to celebrate YOU! I wish I could make you your fav food or a birthday cake with my Gigi.
“I miss your big hugs, your kisses, your smile, your loud a## deep laugh. I miss teasing you, making you laugh and bursting your bubble. I miss you sitting on my lap like my big baby that you are. I think about your tenderness and patience all the time. I think about everything you would do in situations to help me deal with everything thrown my way.”
She added: ”Thank you for growing up with me and teaching me how to be strong. How to try to see the best in people but cutout the bs (bulls**t). Your thoughtful gestures and the amazing way you made us all feel is extremely missed. I picture your smile and wide big welcoming hugs daily… I wish I could wake up from this horrible nightmare. I wish I could surprise our girls and welcome you and Gigi home to us. I’m mad I didn’t go first. I always wanted to go first so that I selfishly didn’t have to feel this heartache. You were supposed to miss me. Gigi was supposed to be here with her sisters. It should’ve been me.”