Nick Vaughn, Staff Writer
As the NBA community as well as so many all-around the world still morn and grieve the death of Kobe Bryant his daughter, and seven other who were tragically killed in a helicopter crash on January 26, 2020. In the following weeks stories were told from some of Kobe’s teammates, coaches, and peers as his death seemed to hit many of us harder than we could have even imagined because Kobe was like a member of each of our families given that he came into the NBA(National Basketball Association) in 1996 coming straight out of Lower Marion high school in Philadelphia.
Coming into the league there was something that was different about Kobe, even though he was fresh out of high school his maturity and work ethic was that of a 10-year veteran as he was all business on and off the court. Looking to gain any advantage he could get over his peers so that he could completely dominate them on the court, it was this kind of drive and competitive edge that truly inspired this generation of basketball players and even some of your favorites in the NBA today.
From LeBron James to Zion Williamson all players looked up to Kobe in one way or another either from afar, watching his every move or up close getting to know him on a personal level to the point where they would share phone calls to talk about just anything. So when the NBA commissioner Adam Sliver announced that the All-Star game MVP trophy would be re-named to honor Kobe it only made sense. For someone that put their all into the game and showed the world what hard work, sacrifice, and grit can get you it only made sense that the league would find a way to honor Kobe. The Basketball Hall of Fame even made a statement as to how they plan to pay their respect to Kobe as he will be going into the hall this year on his first try.
With so many new changes to the overall format of All-Star weekend many wondered how everything would play out, needless to say Kobe “Bean” Bryant would be proud of the new changes as it brought back a competitive edge to All-Star weekend. As the game went on the play started to pick up as $300,000 was on the line for the winning team to pick a charity of their choice, none other than Kawhi Leonard walked away with the first Kobe Bryant All-Star MVP trophy as he went off for 30 points, 7 rebounds, and 8 threes.
Moving forward it seems as if this new system is here to stay as many players who were watching from their respective homes and even those that were in Chicago for all the festivities were much more engaged in the weekend than they have in the last few years.