Kobe Bryant’s impressive list of accomplishments includes a record-tying four NBA All-Star Game MVP awards.
So, it’s only fitting the league will honor Bryant at this year’s festivities with a tweak to the game itself.
The NBA announced Thursday it will implement a new format for the 2020 All-Star Game, scheduled to be played Sunday, Feb. 16, at United Center in Chicago. The changes — “designed to increase the level of competition throughout the game, provide additional excitement at the finish and make the outcome of every quarter count for charity” — will include a fourth-quarter scoring system incorporating the No. 24 that Bryant wore during his final 10 seasons with the Los Angeles Lakers.
Here’s an explanation, according to the NBA’s press release:
In the 69th NBA All-Star Game, Team Giannis and Team LeBron will compete to win each of the first three quarters, all of which will start with the score of 0-0 and will be 12 minutes long. At the beginning of the fourth quarter, the game clock will be turned off and a Final Target Score will be set.
The Final Target Score will be determined by taking the leading team?s total cumulative score through three quarters and adding 24 points — the 24 representing Bryant?s jersey number for the final 10 seasons of his NBA career. The teams will then play an untimed fourth quarter and the first team to reach the Final Target Score will win the NBA All-Star Game.
For instance, if the cumulative score of the first three quarters is 100-95, the Final Target Score would be set at 124 points. To win the NBA All-Star Game, the team with 100 points would need to score 24 points in the fourth quarter before the team with 95 points scores 29 points, and vice versa. With no minimum or maximum time on the clock in the fourth quarter, the NBA All-Star Game will end with a made basket or a made free throw.
This could make for a more interesting contest, if nothing else, as the NBA All-Star Game has grown stale over the years thanks to its non-competitive nature, which is largely rooted in the lack of defense played. Most importantly, however, the league is using the game not only to honor Bryant, who died Sunday in a tragic helicopter crash that also killed his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, and seven others, but also to raise money for charity.
The NBA announced today a new format for the 2020 NBA All-Star Game that makes the outcome of every quarter count for charity. The changes include a new fourth-quarter format that will honor the late Kobe Bryant.
— NBA (@NBA) January 30, 2020
You can bet every participating player on Team Giannis and Team LeBron will want to make Bryant proud.