The NBA will again honor the late Kobe Bryant at this year’s All-Star Game.
The 2021 NBA All-Star Game will have the same format as last year’s event, incorporating Kobe’s number, 24, into the calculation of the final target score, according to a report from Shams Charania of The Athletic. Last year’s game was praised by many for having the sort of intensity rarely seen at previous All-Star Games.
The NBA will again honor the late Kobe Bryant at March 7 All-Star Game with incorporating 24 points into the calculation of the final target score. The same format was used in 2020.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) February 18, 2021
Kobe Bryant, along with his daughter Gianna and seven other people, tragically died in a helicopter crash back in January of 2020, to the shock of many. In his honor, the NBA decided last year to rename the All-Star MVP trophy after Kobe calling it the “Kobe Bryant MVP Award.”
The game also featured players on both teams wearing Kobe Bryant’s two numbers, eight and 24. There was a performance pre-game by Jennifer Hudson where she honored both Kobe and Gianna.
As for this year’s edition of the All-Star Game, it will be played in Atlanta on March 7. The NBA will donate $2.5 million toward Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and will also support and raise awareness around equity and access to COVID-19 care, relief, and vaccines.
The event will raise awareness about HBCU’s across America by including HBCU musical groups’ performances and stories by alumni and students.
“NBA All-Star in Atlanta will continue our annual tradition of celebrating the game and the greatest players in the world before a global audience,” NBA commissioner Adam Silver said. “In addition to the festivities on the court, the All-Star Game will honor the vital role HBCUs play in our communities and focus attention and resources on COVID-19 relief, particularly for the most vulnerable.”
The NBA’s decision to stage this game during a pandemic has been criticized by a number of people, including some high-profile players.
“I don’t even know why we’re having an All-Star Game,” LeBron James said earlier this month, calling it “pretty much a slap in the face” given the health risks and the condensed NBA schedule this year.
The NBA has announced additional measures for the All-Star Game as part of its current Health and Safety Protocols. These include private travel to and from Atlanta, creating a “mini-bubble” environment within a single hotel for players and coaches, and enhanced PCR testing. There will also be no fan activities or events.
All-Star Weekend will be condensed into one day this year, with the skills and three-point contests taking place before the game. The slam dunk contest will happen at halftime.