2016 ESPY Awards: Chance The Rapper and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar paid tributes to Muhammad Ali at the event held at Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles on Wednesday.
Abdul-Jabbar, who is a retired professional basketball player, said that his friend Muhammad Ali handled fame in his own way. Besides, the Chicago-based rapper paid a gripping tribute to the legendary boxer with his performance that brought the curtains down on the awards ceremony.
Chance The Rapper was introduced by the retired basketball legend at the special evening for athletes. The 23-year-old performed his musical tribute, which was a piano-driven ballad. The original song was penned in honor of Muhammad Ali, according to Hollywood Reporter.
His gripping performance was backed by images and clips of Ali displayed behind him. Chance The Rapper was joined by Donnie Trumpet, Jamila Woods, Peter Cottontale, and Teddy Jackson on stage. He was in his signature White Sox hat and sharp suit.
The touching and moving performance had the entire audience clapping. Though the title of the song is not known yet, however it goes like this:
“Ain’t nowhere greater/ Ain’t nowhere brighter/ Ain’t nowhere better/ Ain’t no one prettier/ Ain’t no one wiser/ Ain’t no one better. I was a rock ‘n’ roller back in my day, but now I’m just a rock.”
Muhammad Ali died at the age of 74 following a 32-year fight with Parkinson’s disease on June 3.
Meanwhile, in keeping with the night’s theme of ‘Black Lives Matter’, celebs like Carmelo Anthony, Chris Paul, Dwyane Wade and LeBron James opened the show giving a call to end violence. Also, Zenobia Dobson, the mother of 15-year-old Zaevion who was killed in gunfire while saving three girls, pleaded to end violence.
This was Chance The Rapper’s seventh performance on national television in the last 16 months, DJ Booth reports. He performed on SNL, “The Late Show”, “The Tonight Show” as well as “Jimmy Kimmel Live.” With so any performances to his credit and his moving tribute to Muhammad Ali, Chance The Rapper seems to have arrived!
The night also included the presentation of the Icon Award to three retiring athletes: Kobe Bryant, Peyton Manning, and Abby Wambach, which was done by Justin Timberlake.