All-Star Saturday was all about Kobe

The NBA just gets it.

So far, the most special moment of 2020 All-Star Weekend happened on Saturday, before the electrifying Skills Challenge, 3-Point Shootout and Dunk Contest.

Since the passing of Kobe Bryant on Jan. 26, the NBA and its community haven’t missed a beat in honoring the NBA legend, and All-Star Weekend has featured several unique tributes to Bryant, his daughter Gianna, and the seven other victims of a fatal helicopter crash.

Those special tributes began on Friday night, prior to the All-Star Celebrity Game.

A second tribute to Bryant was held before Friday’s Rising Stars Game, led by Bryant’s close friend and former teammate Pau Gasol, as well as Kobe’s friend and WNBA legend Sue Bird.

Lastly, prior to All-Star Saturday Night, Bryant’s friend and rival Dwayne Wade, and Candace Parker – another WNBA legend and friend of Kobe’s – led the crowd in a moment of silence.

Earlier on Saturday, players, former players and others paid their respects to Bryant, including reigning NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo.

NBA on TNT created a special video to honor Bryant prior to Saturday night’s festivities.

A few poignant moments honoring Kobe happened away from the All-Star festivities as well.

At Michael Jordan’s birthday party, there was a memorial dedicated to No. 24.

At the party, Kobe’s good friend Carmelo Anthony paid his respects.

Wade paid his respects to Bryant at a separate memorial in Chicago.

Turning to Sunday’s All-Star Game, the NBA changed the rules of the showcase game to honor Kobe.

At halftime, a special musical tribute will be held for Bryant as well.

All-Star Weekend is, in fact, the best possible weekend to honor Bryant, considering the impact he had on the All-Star festivities during his 20-year NBA career.

Arguably Bryant’s most impactful All-Star moment – besides winning four All-Star Game MVP awards, tied for the most in NBA history – was his victory in the 1997 Slam Dunk Contest.

Bryant was even scheduled to play a role in this year’s dunk contest, with former teammate and current Los Angeles Laker Dwight Howard.

Not only is Kobe forever immortalized at All-Star Weekend, he’s soon to be immortalized in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.

Congratulations, Kobe. We miss you immensely, and this weekend is all for you.