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NBA changes all-star game format as it celebrates Kobe Bryant

The world is in shock since NBA legend Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna and seven others died while aboard a helicopter that crashed on January 26 in the mountains north of Los Angeles. Since then, the tributes to Bryant have gone from impromptu outpourings of grief from all over the world to more formalized celebrations. One of the keynote events will take place at the NBA All-Star Game on February 16.

All-stars honor an all-star

The NBA announced several changes to the game:

  • Every quarter will be a mini-game for charity (winner each quarter gets $100,000 for its charity).
  • The untimed fourth quarter will have a target score instead of a clock.
  • The scores for the mini-games in the first three quarters will start at 0-0.
  • The fourth quarter will begin with a total of each team's score, with a target of 24, which was Bryant's number, additional points than the team that has the lead.
  • Along with the $100,000 for each quarter, the final score is worth another $200,000.
  • Even if one team loses all four quarters, their charity still gets $100,000.

As in the last few years, the all-star captains will draft their teams with the idea of making the game more competitive. Both the Laker's LeBron James and the Bucks' Giannis Antetokounmpo return as captains.

A player who transcended sport

There are a variety of other tributes as well. There was a special night by the Lakers on January 31st where Lebron James addressed the crowd before the game, and other NBA teams marked Bryant's passing too. Bryant was a transcendent player, so it was no surprise that the NFL honored Bryant during the Super Bowl, and soccer team AC Milan paid tribute during its San Siro match on January 28.


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