NBA to honour Kobe Bryant at next month's All-Star Game

Feb 18 2021, 1:04 pm

The NBA will again honour 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.

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 honour, 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 honoured 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 honour 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.

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