The 2020 NBA All-Star Game will feature a new format with tweaks to the scoring rules as a way to honor Kobe Bryant. Fans will mainly notice the changes in the fourth quarter which will now be untimed.
The team leading after three quarters can win the game after scoring 24 points in the fourth period, and the trailing team can still snag a victory by making up the deficit plus 24 points. The No. 24 is a nod to Bryant’s jersey and is just one of the numerous ways the NBA is honoring the fallen Lakers star.
If the score is 120-110 after three quarters, the first team to reach 144 points will win the game. Under this scenario, the trailing team needs to score 34 points to win the all-star game. The “Target Score” will not be known until the first three quarters have been completed.
The NBA is also using the end of each quarter as a way to raise money for charity. The team leading after each quarter will have money donated to a Chicago charity as selected by captains LeBron James and Giannis Antetokonunmpo. Here is how NBA.com described the charitable donations tied to the all-star game.
The community organization selected by the winner of each of the first three quarters will receive $100,000 – a total of $300,000 donated to charity for those three quarters. The winner of each of the first three quarters will be the team with the higher score at the end of the 12-minute quarter.
The winning team in the NBA All-Star Game (i.e., the team that reaches the Final Target Score first) will earn $200,000 for its designated community organization.
The NBA Has Not Committed to the New Format Beyond the 2020 All-Star Game
The new NBA All-Star Game format is only a certainty for 2020 as the league has not committed to the new scoring rules beyond this season. It will be interesting to see if the NBA reverts back to the more traditional scoring method in upcoming all-star games. Not only is the league honoring Bryant with the formatting change, but the league is now giving the top player the NBA All-Star Game Kobe Bryant MVP Award renamed to honor the late guard.
“Kobe Bryant is synonymous with NBA All-Star and embodies the spirit of this global celebration of our game,” NBA commissioner Adam Silver noted, per NBA.com. “He always relished the opportunity to compete with the best of the best and perform at the highest level for millions of fans around the world.”
The NBA Ditched the Traditional Conference Format in Favor of a Fantasy Draft
The NBA has not been afraid to implement changes to the all-star game. Teams were traditionally split up by the two conferences but recently the league allowed the top players to pick their teammates in a fantasy draft. Antetokonunmpo and James were named the two captains for this year’s game. As for the new scoring rules, Antetokounmpo believes it a great way to honor Bryant’s legacy.
“The format is amazing,” Antetokounmpo said, per NBA.com. “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.”