Team Lebron vs Team Giannis

Team Lebron vs Team Giannis: Team LeBron is absolutely stacked and it’s amazing how for the second year in a row he’s able to get so many of the leagues top players. The starting five includes LeBron, Kawhi Leonard, Anthony Davis, Luka Doncic and James Harden. You could argue Team LeBron has four of the top-six players in the league in its starting five.

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As for the bench of Team LeBron, players such as Ben Simmons, Jayson Tatum, Russell Westbrook, Nikola Jokic and Chris Paul will give it a go.

The NBA announced on Saturday that it will honor late Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant by naming its All-Star Game MVP award after him.

Bryant — who died in a helicopter crash in January, along with his 13-year-old daughter Gianna and seven other people — was named a finalist for a posthumous induction into the Basketball Hall of Fame on Friday. He is expected to be a first-time Hall of Famer along with Kevin Garnett and Tim Duncan.

NBA commissioner Adam Silver announced the NBA’s new honor at an All-Star game press conference in Chicago prior to the league’s events on Saturday night.

“This trophy will be presented at the conclusion of tomorrow night’s All-Star Game, and I know it will be especially meaningful to that player that wins the first Kobe Bryant MVP,” Silver said. “So I’m sure there will be other honors as well, and as I mentioned, there are other things that we will be discussing with our board, the NBA board, when they meet in April to honor David (Stern). But this one seems so appropriate here at All-Star, because nobody embodied All-Star more than Kobe Bryant.”

The NBA also adjusted its All-Star game rules for this season to honor Bryant. Every quarter will be a competition between the two teams, and the winner will earn $100,000 for a Chicago-based charity. In the fourth quarter, the score will be reset. Whichever team is ahead after three quarters will need to score 24 points to win. The other team will need to make up the difference, then score 24 more.

Kobe Bryant wore the No. 24 for much of his career with the Lakers. Those who stand still run the risk of falling behind. And with that in mind, the NBA once again is pushing boundaries and possibilities by tinkering with the mid-season showpiece.

The grand experiment and experience will be for you and the participants to judge Sunday when the 69th All-Star Game receives a facelift that might be the envy of all plastic surgeons. Perhaps this was inevitable or maybe even warranted; either way, the game done changed.

Each of the four quarters will stand on their own and the fourth quarter won’t even have a clock. All to spice up the competition, add some intrigue, honor the memory of the late Kobe Bryant and most of all, get folks talking about it beyond the buzzer.

“The format is amazing,” said Giannis Antetokounmpo. “It makes you want to play hard and compete against one another. Each quarter you have the opportunity to win, and it makes it way more competitive.”

The hope is that there will be a considerable uptick in intensity and competition, that the world’s most creative players will put on a show from tip to finish. That would make this game — heavy on emerging and proven stars and heavier on hearts for Kobe — one that could endure.

The evening will likely reflect the depth of respect current players hold for the former four-time All-Star MVP, often idolized by them as kids; some even had the chance to play against him. The Kobe flag waver will understandably be LeBron James, who passed Kobe on the all-time scoring list and spoke to him the night before he died.

“We know he’s watching over us,” said LeBron, who passed Kobe on the all-time scoring list and spoke to him the night before the crash. “For us to be able to honor Kobe and his legacy, it’s a beautiful time. Even in loss, a beautiful time.”

The uniforms for Team LeBron and Team Giannis will be 24 and 2, representing the numbers that Kobe wore with the Lakers and his daughter Gigi wore for her travel team. The shot clock will illuminate when it hits 24 and 8, representing both jersey numbers worn by Kobe with the Lakers. Also, expect more than a handful of players to wear customized sneakers in Kobe’s memory.

“Wearing 24 and LeBron wearing number 2, it’s a big honor,” said Giannis. “I wouldn’t want it any other way representing Kobe and Gigi in the game.”