Emotional tributes were paid to Kobe Bryant as Team LeBron beat Team Giannis 157-155 at the 69th NBA All-Star game in Chicago on Sunday. Bryant, an 18-time All-Star, died with his daughter Gianna and seven others in a helicopter crash last month, aged 41.
Team Giannis wore Bryant’s number 24 during the game and Team LeBron wore his daughter’s number two. Kawhi Leonard won the first ever Kobe Bryant All-Star MVP Award which was renamed after the LA Lakers legend.
The game was the culmination of a weekend of tributes to five-time NBA champion Bryant, a four-time All-Star MVP. He was also the youngest player to start in an All-Star game when he made his debut aged 19 in 1998.
Hall of Famer Magic Johnson, a former Lakers president and player, led the tributes in a pre-game ceremony, which was followed by an eight-second silence, before the crowd erupted in cheers of ‘Kobe, Kobe, Kobe.’
“We will never see another basketball player quite like Kobe,” said Johnson. “This is a tough time for the whole NBA family.”