Rich trib­ute to Kobe Bryant

The Citizen (KZN) - - Sport -

– 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 to­mor­row’s 69th NBA All-Star Game.

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 Al­lS­tar Game Most Valu­able Player awards.

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

All-Star teams guided by LeBron James (above) 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.

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.

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.

All-Star Game play­ers from abroad will also fea­ture. – AFP

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