With the 2020 NBA All-Star Game right around the corner, the league decided it was the perfect platform to honor 18-time All-Star Kobe Bryant, who was tragically killed on Sunday in a helicopter crash.
It’s safe to say there will be numerous tributes honoring Bryant, as well as his 13-year old basketball-loving daughter Gianna, and the other seven passengers aboard the helicopter.
One of those tributes comes via a rule change. The league is revamping the All-Star Game rules, perhaps as a one-off, but perhaps as a long-term change. The changes were first reported by Tim Reynolds of the AP:
Rather than just playing to win the game, the teams will play to win each of the four quarters. One team will win the first quarter, at which point the score will be reset. They’ll start over for the second quarter, which one team will win, and then do the same for the third quarter.
For each of those three quarters, the winning team’s charity of choice will receive $100,000. If the score is tied, both charities will receive $100,000.
The fourth quarter is where the tribute comes in. The scores from the first three quarters will be tallied up, then a clockless fourth quarter will begin. The first team to score 24 points (Bryant’s second jersey number) more than the higher-scoring team wins.
For example, if Team LeBron leads Team Giannis 120-110 after the third quarter, then the first team to score 144 points (120 plus 24) wins the game. That team’s charity will receive $200,000.
Here a more in-depth explanation of the rules:
A breakdown from the NBA on its new All-Star Game format ... pic.twitter.com/hg2FkJDioh— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) January 30, 2020
The All-Star Game takes place on Sunday, February 16, in Chicago. Just as was the case last year, the captains are LeBron James (Los Angeles Lakers) and Giannis Antetokounmpo (Milwaukee Bucks). The other eight starters are Anthony Davis (Lakers), Kawhi Leonard (Los Angeles Clippers), James Harden (Houston Rockets), Luka Dončić (Dallas Mavericks), Pascal Siakam (Toronto Raptors), Joel Embiid (Philadelphia 76ers), Kemba Walker (Boston Celtics), and Trae Young (Atlanta Hawks).
The reserves will be announced tonight. Barring something wild and completely unforeseen, there will be no Golden State Warriors in the All-Star Game for the first time since the 2011-12 season.