The NBA will honor Kobe and Gianna Bryant at next month’s All-Star Game by having the players don their jersey numbers.
The NBA announced Friday all players on Team LeBron—captained by LeBron James—will wear Gianna’s No. 2 and all players on Team Giannis—captained by Giannis Antetokounmpo—will wear Kobe’s No. 24.
Kobe and Gianna were among nine people who died in a helicopter crash Sunday. Kobe was 41 and Gianna was 13.
Both teams will also wear patches featuring nine stars to honor the nine victims. John, Keri and Alyssa Altobelli, Sarah and Payton Chester, Christina Mauser and Ara Zobayan also died in the crash. Alyssa Altobelli and Payton Chester were Gianna’s teammates on the basketball team that Bryant coached.
The participants in the Rising Stars Game on Friday and the Skills Challenge on Saturday will also wear patches with the Nos. 2 and 24 surrounded by nine stars.
The decision to feature Kobe and Gianna’s numbers in the All-Star Game came after the NBA announced Thursday that it planned to honor them in multiple ways during All-Star weekend.
With regard to Kobe, the NBA revealed that a target score of 24 plus the leading team’s score after three quarters will be used in the fourth quarter of the All-Star Game to honor him.
That means the team leading after three quarters will win the game when it reaches 24 points in the fourth, or the team trailing after three quarters will win if it makes it to the total of the leading team plus 24 additional points.
Several NBA players have changed their jersey number from 8 or 24 since Kobe’s death out of respect for the future Hall of Famer, including Spencer Dinwiddie of the Brooklyn Nets, Terrence Ross of the Orlando Magic, Jahlil Okafor of the New Orleans Pelicans and a few others.
The Lakers previously retired Kobe’s Nos. 8 and 24 in December 2017.
Bryant will forever be remembered as one of the NBA’s greatest players with 18 All-Star nods, five championships, two NBA Finals MVP awards and one NBA MVP award to his credit.
Under her father’s tutelage, Gianna was a budding basketball star as well and was expected to be one of the next great women’s basketball players.
The NBA All-Star Game will emanate from the United Center in Chicago on Feb. 16.