The 2021 All-Star Game in Atlanta will follow the same format as last year, keeping the target score rule as a tribute to the late Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant.
A symbolic 24 points, representing Bryant’s jersey number, will be added to the leading team’s cumulative score through three quarters determining the final target score. The first team to reach or surpass the score in the untimed fourth quarter will win the All-Star Game.
Each of the first three quarters will be treated as a separate mini-contest starting with the score of 0-0 and lasting 12 minutes. The team that scores the most points within a quarter will be declared the winner of that quarter, earning a prize for an associated charitable beneficiary.
Then, the teams will start the fourth period with their respective cumulative scores on the board, battling it out until one of them reaches the final target score with a made basket or free throw.
The format proved successful last year resulting in one of the most competitive All-Star Games in recent NBA history. Team LeBron needed to score 33 points in the fourth quarter to reach the final target score set at 157 points. Team Giannis led 133-124 at the start of the final period.
Lakers star Anthony Davis secured a win for Team LeBron at the charity stripe, making a free throw that took his team to 157 points. Kawhi Leonard was named the Kobe Bryant All-Star MVP – the award which has now been permanently named after the Lakers’ legend.
Adam Silver: Fan Engagement ‘the largest factor’ in 2021 All-Star Game decision
The NBA’s decision to carry out the 2021 All-Star Game stirred controversy as the players expected the mid-season break would allow them to get some much-needed rest instead of competing in a promotional event.
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver admitted that financial reasons played a part in the NBA performing a U-turn on the All-Star Game this year. However, he labeled fan engagement as “the largest factor” in making the decision.
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