24.2 seconds of silence was held before the All-Star Celebrity Game to honor Kobe Bryant and David Stern. pic.twitter.com/MlgJkjD9Mr— ESPN (@espn) February 15, 2020
There is no shortage of tributes planned for the fallen NBA icon, and the celebrity game didn't sit on the bench when the time came. Coaches Stephen A. Smith and Michael Wilbon spoke before the game started, honoring late NBA commissioner David Stern and Bryant with 24.2 seconds of silence.
While those on the court stayed quiet, the fans in attendance decided to honor Bryant in another way. Those in the stands started a "Kobe" chant after Wilbon and Smith had finished speaking, showing just how much the Lakers legend meant to the NBA and the fans.
A Kobe chant before the start of the NBA All-Star Celebrity Game following a 24.2-second moment of silence. pic.twitter.com/fHlugpuVix— L.A. Times Sports (@latimessports) February 15, 2020
The NBA All-Star Game will be different this year due to the death of Bryant. Along with the scoring format changing dramatically, there will be multiple tributes throughout the weekend. The All-Star team led by LeBron James will wear No. 2 jerseys in honor of Gianna and the team led by Giannis Antetokounmpo will wear No. 24 in honor of Bryant.
"We've been very focused on making it more competitive, making it more exciting and making it fun," Byron Spruell, the NBA's president for league operations said per ESPN. "And we've had a great collaboration with the union. For this year's game, we really focused on what new things we could do to make it a really competitive game where each quarter mattered in this case."
James was very close to Bryant as he was someone he looked up to. When the Lakers paid tribute to Bryant on Jan. 31, James gave an emotional speech.
"I look at this as a celebration tonight," James said. "This is a celebration of the 20 years of the blood, the sweat, the tears, the broken down body...the determination to be as great as he could be. Tonight we celebrate the kid that came here at 18 years of age, retired at 38 and became probably the best dad that we've seen over the last three years. Tonight is a celebration.
"Kobe is a brother to me," James continued. "From the time I was in high school watching him from afar, to getting in this league at 18 and watching him up close, all the battles that we had throughout my career, the one thing that we always shared was that determination to just want to win, to just want to be great. The fact that I'm here now means so much to me. I want to continue, along with my teammates, his legacy. Not only for this year, but for as long as we can play this game of basketball that we love, because that's what Kobe Bryant would want. So in the words of Kobe Bryant, 'Mamba out.' But in the words of us, not forgotten. Live on, brother."