NBA to honour Kobe Bryant with new All-Star game format for the Chicago NBA ALLSTAR Weekend

The NBA announced the new format Thursday to ensure true competition throughout, with a 24-point fourth quarter as a tribute to the late Kobe Bryant who passed away in a helicopter crash last Sunday.

The clock will be turned off in the final quarter as teams battle it out for a set score, determined by adding 24 points to the leading team at the end of the third. For example, if Team LeBron hits 130 and Team Giannis hits 120, the first team to 154 will be victorious. 

Furthermore, the NBA is striving to make the outcome of every quarter count for charity as each team competes to win each of the first three quarters, which will start at 0-0. The winner of the quarter will receive $100,000 (£76,441.50) for their chosen community organisation and the overall winner will receive $200,000 (£152,849).

The 69th All-Star Game takes place at Chicago’s United Center on Sunday, February 16 and game reserves were announced Thursday, shortly after the format refresh. A televised draft will be held next Thursday as team captains LeBron James and Giannis Antetokounmpo receive their starting lineup.

There was a little controversy after the All-Star pool announcements as high-performing athletes were omitted. Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker is averaging more than 27 points per game on 51% shooting but has become the most notable snub of the draft.

James, Anthony Davis and Kawhi Leonard will be the only features from the Lakers and Clippers as starters, named last week, include all-star debuts from the Mavericks’ Luka Doncic, the Raptors’ Pascal Siakam, and the Hawks’ Trae Young.

Western Conference reserves include former Lakers wing Brandon Ingram, Utah centre Rudy Gobert, Utah guard Donovan Mitchell, Denver centre Nikola Jokic, Portland guard Damian Lillard and Houston guard Russell Westbrook. Oklahoma City guard Chris Paul will also play in the game.

Eastern Conference reserves include Heat forward Bam Adebayo and Jimmy Butler, Raptors guard Kyle Lowry, Bucks forward Khris Middleton, Pacers forward Domantas Sabonis, 76ers guard Ben Simmons, and Celtics forward Jayson Tatum.

However, the regular complaints regarding athletes being snubbed for All-Star honours are not restricted to Booker as the Wizards’ Bradley Beal, the Celtics’ Jaylen Brown, the Clippers’ Paul George, the Bulls’ Zach LaVine and the Timberwolves’ Karl-Anthony Towns will all be absent from the game.

Tributes to Bryant and former NBA commissioner David Stern are expected throughout the weekend as players and fans unite to remember their legacies.

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