There was certainly no shortage of love for Kobe Bryant throughout the course of 2020 NBA All-Star Weekend in Chicago.
The league dedicated this year’s events to pay homage to Bryant, his daughter Gianna, and the seven other victims of the tragic helicopter crash. This included tribute videos, team jerseys, and an entirely new game format that helped spark a competitive edge after years where it was lacking.
Los Angeles was well-represented with LeBron James and Anthony Davis headlining Team LeBron in Bryant’s daughter’s signature No. 2 jersey. It is safe to say the NBA and their players made tremendous efforts in ensuring that Bryant was honored the right way.
James admits this was a point of emphasis considering the kind of impact Bryant had made both on and off the court.
“I mean, anything else would be uncivilized. He’s one of the greatest basketball players, one of the most impactful players, and the inspiration that he has, it’s showing. How many people not only in the basketball world, but also outside the basketball world, that was touched by a person such as himself,” James said.
“Obviously, we all saw what he was able to do on the floor as a competitor, as a champion, someone who strived for excellence every single day, but we also saw the father he was as well to his beautiful daughters and to his wife. The things that he was doing, winning an Oscar, just doing so many things that was just — that people would aspire to do and gaining inspiration from him because of his drive.”
James added that the legacy Bryant left behind is slated to stand the test of time.
“So I haven’t — I think it’s been amazing, and I’m happy to be a part of it this weekend. Obviously, me being a Los Angeles Laker myself, it’s going to be a part of me for the rest of my life and our franchise, and any player to ever wear purple and gold until the end of basketball, which is never,” James said.
NBA commissioner Adam Silver certainly deserves plenty of credit for his efforts in making sure that Bryant was honored properly. Meanwhile, James also did his part as a Lakers representative by leading his team to a 157-155 win over Team Giannis that ended with a clutch free-throw from Davis in his hometown.
Although Bryant’s legacy transcends what he did on the basketball court, there is no question that his influence lives on through the next generation of players.