NBA: Kobe Bryant tributes abound at All-Star Game in Chicago

By Agence France-Presse

Tributes to the late Kobe Bryant, the Los Angeles Lakers legend who died last month in a helicopter crash, will play a major role in Sunday’s 69th NBA All-Star Game.

A tribute to Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angles Lakers before the game between the Boston Celtics and the Golden State Warriors at TD Garden on January 30, 2020 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Omar Rawlings / Getty Images / AFP)

This year’s annual showcase of league talent will be played in Chicago and feature numerous nods to Bryant, a five-time NBA champion who also matched a league record with four NBA All-Star Game Most Valuable Player awards.

Bryant, an 18-time NBA All-Star, died at age 41 on January 26 in a crash near Los Angeles that also took the life of his 13-year-old daughter Gianna and seven others.

Western Conference forward Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers (24) reacts in the second half during the NBA All Star Game at Air Canada Centre. (Bob Donnan / USA TODAY Sports / /File Photo)

All-Star teams guided by LeBron James of the Lakers and Greek star Giannis Antetokounmpo of the Milwaukee Bucks will compete to win each of the first three quarters, which will all start 0-0 and last 12 minutes.

At the start of the fourth quarter, the clock will be turned off and a final target score will be established by taking the leading club’s cumulative score through the first three quarters and adding 24 points — the number representing the jersey number worn by Bryant for the final 10 seasons of his NBA career.

The first team to reach the cumulative target score will win the NBA All-Star Game.

All-Star Game jerseys will also honor Bryant and his daughter.

Team Giannis players will wear jersey number 24 in tribute to Kobe while Team LeBron players will wear jersey number two, the number his daughter wore when playing youth basketball.

Both teams will wear jersey patches displaying nine stars, representing the nine people who were killed in the crash.

The tribute patches to Kobe Bryant, Gianna Bryant & Calabasas crash victims & stripe for David Stern on 2020 NBA All-Star Weekend jerseys

— Ben Golliver (@BenGolliver) February 14, 2020

Academy Award-winning actress and Grammy Award-winning singer Jennifer Hudson, a Chicago native, will perform a special tribute to Bryant, his daughter and the others who were killed in the crash. Her performance will begin the night ahead of the player introductions.

James and Antetokounmpo each chose their squads from available starters and reserves voted and selected to the All-Star contest.

Continue the legacy. #NBAAllStar

— Nike Basketball (@nikebasketball) February 8, 2020

Team LeBron starters will include James, his Lakers teammate Anthony Davis, NBA scoring leader James Harden of Houston, Kawhi Leonard of the Los Angeles Clippers and Slovenian guard Luka Doncic of the Dallas Mavericks.

Team Giannis starters include the Greek big man, Cameroon stars Joel Embiid of Philadelphia and Pascal Siakam of Toronto and guards Kemba Walker of Boston and Trae Young of Atlanta.

Inside The American Express Experience at NBA All-Star Weekend 2020 on February 13, 2020 in Chicago, Illinois. (Barry Brecheisen / Getty Images for American Express / AFP)

A record eight All-Star Game players from outside the United States also include Frenchman Rudy Gobert of the Utah Jazz on Team Giannis and Team LeBron reserves Ben Simmons of Australia and the Philadelphia 76ers, Lithuanian Domantas Sabonis of Indiana and Serbian Nikola Jokic of Denver.

Tags: 2020 NBA All-Star , Anthony Davis , Gianna Bryant , Giannis Antetokounmpo , James Harden , Joel Embiid , Kawhi Leonard , Kemba Walkers , Kobe Bryant , Lakers , LeBron James , Los Angeles Lakers , Luka Doncic , NBA All-Star , Pascal Siakam , Team Giannis , Team LeBron , Trae Young