The Latest: Kobe wins tap, East leads 43-40 after 1 quarter
TORONTO, CANADA - FEBRUARY 14: Kobe Bryant #24 of the Western Conference talks to the crowd before the NBA All-Star Game as part of 2016 NBA All-Star Weekend on February 14, 2016 at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)
TORONTO (AP) The Latest on Sunday's events at the NBA's All-Star Weekend in Toronto (all times local):
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After one quarter of the All-Star Game, the Eastern Conference leads the Western Conference 43-40.
Kobe Bryant and LeBron James never met in an NBA Finals, so they squared off another way – they took the opening tap against one another, with Bryant winning.
The East starters all took turns guarding Bryant in the opening minutes, even though ''guarding'' is a relative term in an All-Star Game.
Dwyane Wade and James re-enacted some of their former Miami Heat hijinks, teaming up for an alley-oop dunk in the opening moments. They could have had another spectacular one midway through the quarter, but James couldn't finish after a snazzy high bounce pass from Wade.
Paul George leads all scorers with 14 points for the East. Kevin Durant and Anthony Davis each have 10 so far for the West, Davis getting his on 5 for 5 shooting.
– Tim Reynolds
Kobe Bryant was the subject of a pregame tribute including two videos at the All-Star Game.
With the NBA calling his career brilliant, there was first a video that showed clips of some of Bryant's best moments – starting with his draft-night selection, an array of dunks, a famous lob to Shaquille O'Neal in a playoff win over Portland, some game-winning shots, his defensive intensity and even some images of his Olympic play.
And yes, there was a mention of his 81-point game against Toronto, probably to the dismay of the home crowd.
After the first video, Magic Johnson took the microphone to laud Bryant even further and eventually introduce a second tape of Bryant's moments, with the retiring Los Angeles Lakers great narrating parts of it and other All-Stars offering him words of thanks.
Bryant then addressed the crowd, as they chanted his name at a deafening level. Bryant said he's ''been extremely fortunate to play the game I love and be in the NBA for more than half my life.''
He ended his remarks by saying, ''Thank you so much – and now I've got to go get loose.''
– Tim Reynolds
Count Eastern Conference All-Star guard Dwyane Wade among those still raving about Saturday night's dunk contest finale between eventual winner Zach LaVine and Aaron Gordon.
Wade says he heard plenty of people say that it was the best contest ever, and the Heat guard says, ''I'm starting to think it was.''
Wade was once a very explosive dunker, and says he couldn't even imagine how LaVine and Gordon came up with some of the dunks they executed on Saturday night. He says people will talk about that matchup for a long time.
– Tim Reynolds
Hall of Famer Oscar Robertson received a Lifetime Achievement Award at the annual Legends Brunch on Sunday.
Robertson got the award from fellow Hall of Famer Magic Johnson and Minnesota Timberwolves rookie Karl-Anthony Towns – the newly crowned skills challenge winner at All-Star weekend.
The brunch was hosted by the National Basketball Retired Players Association.
Robertson is a past president of the players' association. In his remarks Sunday he urged the NBA's current players to study the history of how past players fought for certain rights ''and look where you are today.''
Johnson said Robertson is one of his heroes, and Towns raved about the chance to share the stage with the ''Big O.''
– Tim Reynolds
After outlasting Aaron Gordon in what many believe was the best slam dunk contest in All-Star weekend history, Minnesota Timberwolves guard Zach LaVine posted a touching tribute to the late Flip Saunders on his Instagram and Twitter accounts.
Saunders, the Timberwolves president and coach, died suddenly from Hodgkins lymphoma just days before the season started. Saunders drafted LaVine 13th overall two years ago despite the young guard playing only one season as a bench player at UCLA.
LaVine posted a photo of his dunk championship trophy resting on a black Timberwolves jersey. The name ''FLIP'' was written across the back and LaVine's No. 8 was rotated horizontally to mimic an infinity sign.
''I dedicate this dunk contest and the trophy to my late coach, Flip Saunders and the Saunders family,'' LaVine wrote. ''He's the one that always believed in me and drafted me! We all loved Flip and his memory will love on forever!''
– Jon Krawczynski
Zach LaVine called it the best dunk contest ever, a showdown with Aaron Gordon that rivaled what Michael Jordan and Dominique Wilkins did.
Maybe they will come back next year and do it again. In fact, Gordon says, if the league wants him to go to Charlotte, ''I probably will.''
For now, it's time to turn the attention at All-Star weekend back where it was at the start: Kobe Bryant and the rest of the NBA's best.
The All-Star Game tips off Sunday night, when the crowd might still be buzzing over the performances LaVine and Gordon put on to cap off All-Star Saturday.
LaVine finally won after extra dunks were needed, joining Jordan, Jason Richardson and Nate Robinson as the only back-to-back winners of the dunk title.