Less than a month ago, the world was rocked with the sudden and disheartening news of the death of Kobe and Gianna Bryant along with 7 others. What Kobe meant to the game is unmeasurable and his legacy will continue to thrive for eternity. Kobe was the definition of an industrious person who used his hard work, dedication, blood, sweat and tears to mold and shape the game to what it is today. His unstoppable offensive presence, charisma, leadership, and competitiveness earned him 5 NBA championships, 2 NBA Finals MVPs, 17 consecutive all star appearances along with many other accolades. Though his time with us was cut short, Adam Silver (NBA Commissioner) has done a great job to ensure that his name will live on. This year there will be a few changes to the all str game in order to honor Kobe Bryant in the best way possible. The support for Kobe and Gianna Bryant will be displayed on the Team Giannis and Team LeBron uniforms. Team Giannis will wear No. 24 and Team LeBron will wear No.2.
When the new rules for the NBA All Star game were announced there were very mixed emotions. Fans were reluctant to the change at first but eventually warmed up to the changes once explained. Scores will be set back to 0-0 prior to the start of new quarters (2nd and 3rd). The fourth quarter will end with a target score, set by the combined point total of the team in the lead in the first three quarters plus 24 points. For the first three quarters both teams will be playing for Chicago-area charities with the grand total being close to $500,000 for grabs. Adam Silver also annouced yesterday that Kobe Bryant’s name will be added to the All Star MVP Award.
The first NBA All Star game under the new rules is over and surprisingly this game between Team LeBron and Team Giannis was truly a great experience to watch. The All Star in previous years was been deemed unwatchable from fans because of the lack of defensive commitment and horseplay. The new rules for this 2020 all star weekend brought competition to the playing field that someone who has been watching the NBA for 20 years plus years can’t recall when the atmosphere was last like this. First quarter showed promise that the All Star game was going to be just another year of the same antics. Teams had low energy and pretty much everyone was able to get a shot off that would glue you to a bench in a regular season game or playoffs. The first quarter or game as you can call it ended at a very lopsided contest with a total score of 53-41. Team LeBron outscored Team Giannis by 12 and showed that they were the most comfortable team at the time. Team Giannis in the second game and third game had different intentions. Giannis managed to score a team high 25 points thru the first three contest which ultimately gave Team Giannis the edge leading into the final quarter. The final quarter was the ultimate showdown for bragging rights and a large purse for a Chicago foundation.
Team Giannis was in the lead by 9 points and had a total score of 133. Under the new NBA rules, the clock was turned off and the first team to score 157 points would be declared the winner. This is where the game got interesting as Team LeBron and Team Giannis put on the straps to play a competitive, physical and defensive last quarter for all the marbles. Intensity was increased as LeBron and Giannis went into a one on one matchup that will be remembered for years to come. Their competitive spirit led to blocks, limited scoring and defensive presence on both sides. The effort wasn’t only established there. Kyle Lowery was also on the battlefield taking charges and trying to effect the opponents offensive rhythm in any way possible. It was Team LeBron that won the game with a total score of 157-155 that was put on the line by two made free throws from Anthony Davis. This can be arguably the most important free throws of his career even though it was a ASG. LeBron finished the game with 25 points, 5 rebounds and 6 assists. Davis ended with 19 points, 9 rebounds, 3 steals and 3 blocks. Kawhi Leonard of Team LeBron was named the first ever Kobe Bryant MVP with a game high 30 points. Kawhi also made eight three pointers which is one shy of the record behind Paul George.
With a very successful All Star Weekend behind us, we can only hope for more opportunities to be entertained in the years to come. The rule changes show that NBA is moving in the right direction. Over the course of the weekend, we have seen a Big Man win the Skills Challenge, a 3 PT contest that came to the last shot, dunk contest decisions that turned heads and ultimately a defensive and competitive All Star Game. Now if I had to bet money on any of those outcomes…let’s just say I would be a few bucks short before payday. This turn of events is just a foot in the door to show what the NBA will have to present for the years to come. With Adam Silver as the commissioner, we can all assure that the future is bright for fans all around the world.