Kobe Bryant may not be able to physically attend the 2020 NBA All-Star Game Sunday in Chicago after he, 13-year-old daughter Gianna and seven other people died in a tragic helicopter crash outside of Los Angeles last month, but the NBA is making sure he will be there in spirit.
Three weeks to the day after the Bryants' death alongside Payton Chester, Sarah Chester, Christina Mauser, John Altobelli, Keri Altobelli, Alyssa Altobelli and pilot Ara Zobayan in the crash, players and A-List talent from across the country will come together not only to celebrate basketball, but also Bryants' impact on the sport.
Keep scrolling to read all the moving tributes planned for the weekend.
Jennifer Hudson will pay tribute to Bryant with a performance ahead of introductions for Sunday's 69th All-Star Game, although no further details have been revealed about what she will perform. The two-time Grammy and Oscar winner has stayed silent about the tribute on her social media as well, leaving fans to simply wonder about what she will perform.
Also on Sunday, Grammy-, Emmy-, Golden Globe- and Academy Award-winning hip-hop artist and actor Common will make an appearance as he welcomes fans and players to Chicago. Prior to the tip-off, the activist and author will give "moving narrative" about what basketball means to the city before introducing both teams, and is sure to mention Bryant's legacy.
Also performing during the All-Star game will be Chance the Rapper, who will head off the halftime game, joined by Lil Wayne, DJ Khaled and Quavo.
"NBA All-Star. It happens every year. But this year is different," Chance said in a TNT promo for the game. "The game will have more meaning than it's ever had before."
"The league, the fans, the players will all pay tribute to the legendary Kobe Bryant. For an entire generation he defined the title 'NBA All-Star,'" he continued. "Chicago will glow with a warmth and a brilliance that it's never had before. It's the ultimate celebration."
In addition to the stars and performers lending their talents to the All-Star weekend, the NBA has plenty of smaller ways to honor Bryant, including using his and Gianna's numbers for the teams.
Team LeBron (James) will be wearing the No. 2 in honor of Gianna's jersey number, while Team Giannis (Antetokounmpo) will be wearing Bryant's legendary No. 24.
In addition to the numbers, the NBA announced that tribute patches honoring the Calabasas crash victims will be stitched onto all the players' jerseys.
The tribute patches to Kobe Bryant, Gianna Bryant & Calabasas crash victims & stripe for David Stern on 2020 NBA All-Star Weekend jerseys pic.twitter.com/AqXdH2r2AP— Ben Golliver (@BenGolliver) February 14, 2020
Going out on a respectful note for Bryant, the fourth quarter of the NBA All-Star game Sunday will also be commercial-free.
"Presenting the fourth quarter completely free of any commercial breaks creates a unique opportunity to showcase the new All-Star Game format, provide the best fan experience, and align with the league’s overarching plans to pay tribute to Kobe Bryant this weekend," said Craig Barry, EVP and Chief Content Officer, Turner Sports, in a statement.
Photo credit: Kevin Winter/Getty