All the NBA met in Chicago this weekend to pay homage to Kobe Bryant, tragically disappeared three weeks ago, during an All-Star Game entirely turned towards the legend of the Lakers.
This year, it’s different, announces the Chicago child Chance the Rapper in a video promoting the TNT cable channel, which will broadcast the match, the highlight of the weekend Sunday (2h. Monday in Switzerland). The match will make more sense than it ever had.
The North American professional basketball league will therefore be able to put aside, for a year, questions about the interest of this meeting without issue and its format, which have come up tirelessly for decades.
Sunday, the 24 players selected from the 500 or so in the league will be there for Kobe, who has played this All-Star Game 18 times, the second total behind Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
Reactive, the NBA had reshaped the event just hours after the helicopter crash that cost the life of the former Los Angeles Lakers player (41) and his daughter, Gianna (13), as well as seven other people.
No 2 and No 24
All players on the team whose captain is LeBron James will wear the same number, number 2, that of Gianna Bryant, who played the same sport as his father.
The opposing team, that of the best player of the last season, Giannis Antetokounmpo, will sport for only number 24, that of Kobe Bryant during the last ten seasons of his career (he initially wore 8).
The ten incumbent players were chosen after a mix of votes from fans (50%), players (25%) and journalists (25%). The fourteen alternates have been nominated by the coaches of the 30 NBA teams.
To greet the memory of Black Mamba, nickname of Kobe Bryant, the league did not stop at the numbers of jerseys and imagined, for the match of the fabrics, new alambic rules which will end up giving an air of gravity to an event of ordinary festive.
Each of the four quarters will be like a mini-game with, the key, a sum of money awarded by the winning team to charities of the Chicago area.
In addition to the collective tributes, the marks of individual respect should rain this weekend, between declarations, custom shoes, or messages posted on social networks.
Winks are also possible during the parallel events which will take place Friday and Saturday, in particular that of dunks (Saturday), won in 1997 by Kobe Bryant, only 18 years old.
At the Hall of Fame
The 2020 tank promises to be intriguing, with the return of veteran Dwight Howard (34), winner in 2008, and that of flying winger Aaron Gordon, who passed very close in 2016 in a Homer contest.
As of the first event of the weekend, the announcement Friday of the finalists for the 2020 promotion of the basketball panthon, the Hall of Fame, Kobe Bryant, who had just become eligible and will be part of it, will be in the center of the conversations.
Results / rankings
(Nxp / afp)