“These four guys mean so much to me,” Timberlake said. “We’re really a family and the memories that we have and the times that we’ve shared and the families that we’ve built from it … I don’t think I could really put into words how much the four of you mean to me.”
During his speech Bass discussed the difficulty of keeping his sexuality a secret during the height of the band’s popularity. “I thought if I came out, ‘NSYNC would be over, so I kept my secret and our wildest dreams were coming true. But so many nights onstage I’d see young gay fans singing their hearts out, and I just wanted them to know, ‘I was you.’ I just didn’t have the strength then,” Bass said.
The rest of the group offered thanks to their friends and family and Kirkpatrick assured his 6-month-old son Nash that his former bandmates would be a presence in his life. “Nash, you got some of the best uncles on the planet here. If you ever got any problems, you got them,” Kirkpatrick said.
‘NSYNC sold more than 30 million records in the United States and 42 million more in the rest of the world. The group’s first single, “I Want You Back,” released in 1996, reached the Top 10 in three weeks and remained there for eight weeks. The group released their final album Celebrity in 2001 before they stopped performing together in 2002.
Talk show host Ellen DeGeneres, on hand for the ceremony, joked about the origin of its name. “They actually got their name from a comment Justin Timberlake’s mom made about their singing. She said when they sang they sounded in sync,” DeGeneres said. “You’re very, very lucky because if my mother named your band it would have been called, ‘Stop that racket, I’m trying to watch my stories.”
Carson Daly, who hosted MTV’s Total Request Live during the height of ‘NSYNC’s popularity, also spoke about the entertainers. “I was one of the very lucky people who got to hang with these guys when the entire world wanted to hang with them,” Daly said. “I’m honored to be here for yet another milestone in the career of ‘NSYNC.”
— Ellen DeGeneres (@TheEllenShow) April 30, 2018