Capping off an exciting weekend of NBA All-Star festivities, the 2020 All-Star Game was held at Chicago's United center earlier tonight.
The big story was the game's format, changed to encourage a more competitive environment and honor Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gigi and the other victims of the tragic helicopter crash that took their lives. Mission accomplished on both fronts, as the format paid off in the end, giving fans an exciting finish and respectfully honoring the late hoop legend throughout the evening.
As per the new rules, each quarter was a mini game, with the 'winning' team earning $100,000 for a charity of its choosing for leading each frame. Scores were reset to 0 for the second and third quarters, then the overall score was restored for the fourth. As a tribute to Bryant, 24 points are added to the team with the highest cumulative score, creating a 'target score' each team needs to reach for victory. Make sense? It takes a while to understand, but the result was pretty fun.
With the new breakdown, Team LeBron won the first quarter decisively and Team Giannis did the same in the second. The teams tied the third quarter, which not only meant that Team Giannis had a 133-124 cumulative lead, but the team that won the fourth quarter would claim the extra $100,000 as well. Because Team Giannis led 133-124, 24 points were added to its score to create the target—157 points. A 9-point deficit meant Team LeBron had some work to do, and they did just that, turning up the intensity and chipping away at the lead until they grabbed it themselves. After a few dramatic twists and turns down the stretch, including challenged calls and replay reversals, hometown hero Anthony Davis clinched a 157-155 victory for Team LeBron at the free throw line. Kawhi Leonard, who had a game-high 30 points, was named the first ever All-Star Kobe Bryant MVP Award winner.
Additionally, the sneaker watch gave us some equally exciting moments. New Orleans Pelicans forward Brandon Ingram got his Adidas YZY BSKTBL sneakers signed by Kanye West, who sat front row with his wife Kim Kardashian, and then played in them. LeBron James played in two different Space Jam-themed Nike LeBron 17s, the latter a previously unseen bright green colorway dubbed "Mr. Swackhammer" that will release this week. See these pairs and more in a rundown of every sneaker worn in the 2020 NBA All-Star Game below.