The 69th edition of the NBA All-Star Game turned into a pick-up contest for the ages on basketball’s biggest stage.
Playing to a target overall score of 157 in the fourth quarter, the Los Angeles Lakers’ Anthony Davis stepped to the line and hit a free-throw to win the game for Team LeBron over Team Giannis, 157-155.
The new format for the game that debuted this year led to incredible intensity and drama, that has never been experienced in this exhibition contest before. The fourth quarter featured both teams giving it their all on both ends as they competed to get to the target score. There was tenacious defense, hard fouls, players arguing with referees, coaches challenges and both benches standing throughout – in an All-Star Game, who would have thought!
The first three quarters were contested as separate games with the winning team getting $100K that went towards their charity. Team LeBron won the first quarter, 53-41, Team Giannis took the second quarter, 51-30, and both teams tied in the third quarter at 41 apiece.
The fourth quarter was untimed and there was a target score set by adding 24 points to the total of the team who had the overall lead through three quarters (Team Giannis), to honor Kobe Bryant’s No. 24. Team Giannis had 133 points through three quarters, thus the target score to win the game was 157 points.
Team LeBron began the final quarter with 124 points and scored 33 to reach the 157 mark for the win.
Team LeBron ended up receiving $400K that went to the Chicago Scholars charity, for their wins in the first quarter and the overall score. Team Giannis won $100K from their second-quarter victory that went to the After Schools Matter charity.
Chicago was hosting the All-Star Weekend for the first time since the iconic 1988 rendition that saw Michael Jordan take home the All-Star Game MVP with a dominating performance, scoring 40 points.
Kawhi Leonard Named First Winner of Kobe Bryant ASG MVP Award
For an effort that the Black Mamba would have been proud of, Kawhi Leonard was named the first winner of the Kobe Bryant All-Star Game MVP Award.
The two-time NBA Finals MVP delivered once more when the lights shone the brightest, hitting eight three-pointers on his way to a game-high 30 points for the victorious Team LeBron.
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver announced on Saturday at his All-Star Weekend news conference that the award will be renamed the Kobe Bryant MVP Award, in honor of the 18-time NBA All-Star who was killed in a with his 13-year-old daughter Gianna and seven others last month in a tragic helicopter crash.
In addition to the five NBA titles he led the Lakers to, Bryant was named the MVP of the All-Star Game four times during his illustrious career (2002, 2007, 2009 and 2011).
Bryant was named a finalist for the Basketball Hall of Fame during the NBA’s All-Star weekend.
“I’ve never seen in my long life an athlete passing that had the impact that Kobe’s passing had on people, people on the street, people that didn’t even know him,” said Jerry Colangelo, the chairman of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.