A Bittersweet Weekend
The NBA All-Star weekend is usually a time for players to relax, take some time off from the game, and have some fun. The NBA All-Star weekend took place on Saturday February 15th and Sunday February 16th. It allows the best players in the NBA to showcase their skills in certain events and eventually the 12 best players compete in the All-Star Game. But, this year the NBA community was deeply saddened as NBA icon Kobe Bryant passed away just weeks before the events, on January 26, 2020.
The weekend started off Saturday where the Skill Competition, 3-Point Contest, and Slam Dunk contest took place. Center from the Miami Heat, Bam Adebayo, surprised some people and won the Skills Competition. Sacramento Kings guard Buddy Hield shot the lights out in the building taking home the three point crown. Although those events were great, the Slam Dunk Contest stole the show that night. Aaron Gordon and Derrick Jones Jr. battled to see who would take home the trophy. Ultimately, Miami Heat forward Derrick Jones Jr. out dunked Aaron Gordon to win the 2020 Slam Dunk Contest.
After the events Saturday night, Sunday night was the All-Star game. Team captains Lebron James and Giannis Antetokounmpo picked their squads and went to battle. This year the NBA changed up the rules a bit for the game. Each quarter whatever team scored the most points won $100,000 for a charity of their choice. Also, whomever won the game won $300,000 for their charity.
The NBA All-Star Game MVP was named after the late great Kobe Bryant. This year the award was given to Kawhi Leonard, forward for the Los Angeles Clippers. Leonard scored 30 points and put on a show for the fans. “Words can’t explain how happy I am for it. Able to put that trophy in my room, in my trophy room, and just be able to see Kobe’s name on there, it just means a lot to me,” Leonard said after the game.
Although the game and other events usually highlight NBA All-Star Weekend, this year was highlighted by the tribute to the late great Kobe Bryant. Bryant passed away in a tragic helicopter crash along with his daughter Gianna. Before the game on Sunday night, the NBA put together a tribute in honor of Bryant.
Jake Krantz of CAA's Brand Consulting division attended the weekend's events in Chicago. “I think the NBA did a great job with the tribute," Krantz said. "They (the NBA) had the challenge of walking a fine line in mourning the loss of one of the game's greats while moving forward and celebrating the great game of basketball.”
Next year, the NBA All-Star Weekend will take place at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indiana. They will continue with their normal schedule and also keep the same rules as this year's game. With each team wearing the numbers 24 and 2 to honor Kobe and his daughter Gianna. Also the NBA All-Star Game MVP trophy will be permanently named the Kobe Bryant Award in his honor.