NBA changes All-Star Game format to honour Kobe Bryant

By Andy Hampson, PA
PA Media: Sport

The NBA has announced a series of changes to the format of this year’s All-Star Game to pay tribute to the late Kobe Bryant.

Former Los Angeles Lakers star Bryant, 41, and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna were among nine people killed in a helicopter crash in California last Sunday.

The All-Star Game, which is due to take place in Chicago on February 16 featuring 24 of the NBA’s best players, will now be played with a new scoring system.

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The scores will be reset to 0-0 at the end of the first three quarters with the winner of each quarter earning 100,000 US dollars for that team’s chosen charity.

The full scores will then be restored for an untimed fourth quarter in which the overall winner will be determined by the team which reaches the target score. The target score will be determined by the leading team’s cumulative score from the first three quarters, plus 24.

The 24 represents Bryant’s shirt number for the final 10 years of his career in the NBA. Bryant appeared in the All-Star Game 18 times.

The teams will be captained by LeBron James of the Lakers and Giannis Antetokounmpo of the Milwaukee Bucks.

The NBA said in a statement the changes were “designed to increase the level of competition throughout the game, provide additional excitement at the finish and make the outcome of every quarter count for charity”.

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