With the NBA (and, let’s face it, the entire world) still mourning the unexpected loss of Kobe Bryant, the league is set to honor him in a HUGE way!
The Associated Press has confirmed that the league will be switching up the format of this year’s All-Star Game to honor the Black Mamba, who had the second-most All-Star appearances (18!) and won the All-Star MVP award four times. Here’s the breakdown:
- Both teams will play for community organizations in Chicago (the game’s host city). Those charities will be selected by the team captains, Giannis Antetokounmpo (Milwaukee Bucks) and LeBron James (LA Lakers).
- The first three quarters will last 12 minutes each, with the scores resetting each time. The winning team of each quarter will win $100,000 for their selected charity.
- At the start of the fourth quarter, the game clock will be shut off. After counting up the cumulative scores from the first three quarters, a “final target score” will be set.
- This is where the tribute to Kobe comes in! The “final target score” is decided by taking the leading team’s cumulative score and adding an additional 24 points. As we know, “24” is the jersey number that Kobe wore during the latter part of his 20-year career with the LA Lakers.
- EXAMPLE TIME! Let’s say the cumulative score was 72-60. The target score would be 72 + 24 = 96. That means that in order to win, the leading team would have to score the additional 24 points before the team that’s behind makes 36 points to reach 96.
- The team that reaches the “final target score” first will be the winners of the NBA All-Star Game, and the winning team’s charity will win an additional $200,000.
The format change will be one of several tributes to Bryant, who died in a helicopter crash in Calabasas this past Sunday (Jan. 26) along with eight others, including his 13-year-old daughter Gianna. In addition to honoring the NBA great, president of league operations Byron Spruell was also focused on making this game an entertaining one. “We’ve been very focused on making it more competitive, making it more exciting and making it fun,” Spruell said. “And we’ve had a great collaboration with the union. For this year’s game, we really focused on what new things we could do to make it a really competitive game where each quarter mattered in this case.”
The 2020 NBA All-Star Game will air live on TNT on Feb. 16 at 8PM EST.