Nike executives 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.”
She continued the post: “I miss your big hugs, your kisses, your smile, your loud a** deep laugh,” adding: “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.”
Vanessa then thanked her late husband for teaching her how to be strong and see the best in people.
The post ended on a heartbreaking note, with Vanessa divulging: “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.”