The San Francisco 49ers and Kansas City Chiefs took the stage to kick off Super Bowl LIV week.
It was lights, cameras, and Kobe.
A moment of silence for Kobe Bryant — the NBA legend who perished a day prior along with his daughter, Gianna, and seven others victims in a Southern California helicopter crash — was held to begin the night with an image of the Lakers icon in the background upon a jumbotron in the outfield of Marlins Park.
A day later, the five-time NBA Champion weighed heavy with Chiefs and 49ers coaches and players offering sentiment and appreciation for the all-time great.
“He made us ask ourselves, are we competitive enough? Chiefs safety Tyrann Mathieu said.
The host city Miami Heat played host to the Orlando Magic for an NBA game while Super Bowl Opening Night was in progress.
Bryant, his daughter Gianna and the other seven victims of the tragedy were remembered, as has been the case in every game since the news broke on Sunday.
The Heat played a video tribute pregame, putting 24.8 seconds — part of a series of nods to Bryant’s jersey numbers with the Los Angeles Lakers — on the scoreboard.
The Heat took a 24-second violation to start the game, the Magic then took an 8-second violation. Several players had messages to remember Bryant and his daughter scrawled on their sneakers.
And at halftime, the Oscar-winning animated version of Bryant’s poem “Dear Basketball” was shown on the arena screens.
“He showed me there is mind over matter,” 49ers cornerback Richard Sherman said.
Bryant was a friend and mentor to the five-time pro-bowl cornerback.
I was really sad yesterday, and I was sad this morning I was kind of down. I was in the dumps. And then I just thought about what he would tell me,” Sherman said. “He would tell me stop being a baby and man up and play it and do it in his honor and win this game for him. And that’s what we’re going to try to do. I’m going to go out there and try to play some dominating ball, just like he wanted. The ‘Mamba Mentality’ still lives on.”
Mamba mentality demonstrating mental toughness and continually striving to be the best will be on display Super Bowl Sunday.