The NBA and the NBPA will further honor Kobe Bryant by auctioning off the game-worn 2020 All-Star Game jerseys with all the proceeds benefiting the late basketball star’s foundations.
During Sunday’s All-Star game — which saw Team LeBron defeat Team Giannis with a target score of 157 in the fourth quarter — all members of Team LeBron wore No. 2 jerseys in memory of Byrant’s 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, while Team Giannis players wore No. 24 in honor of the longtime Lakers star.
And while both All-Star teams played for their chosen charities — Chicago Scholars (Team LeBron) and After School Matters (Team Giannis) — the players will also donate all of the money earned from auctioning off the Jordan Brand jerseys to Bryant’s foundations: Mamba on Three Fund and the Mamba and Mambacita Sports Foundation.
To honor the life and legacy of Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna, the NBA and NBPA will donate all proceeds from the auction of game-worn Jordan Brand #NBAAllStar jerseys to the Mamba on Three Fund and the Mamba & Mambacita Sports Foundation. pic.twitter.com/hQLohncK5z— NBA (@NBA) February 17, 2020
The Mamba and Mambacita Sports Foundation — which updated its name from the Mamba Sports Foundation after the incident — aims to provide underserved communities with sports programs that enrich their “socio-emotional and physical development,” according to its website.
Ahead of Sunday’s game, both Jennifer Hudson and Common performed emotional tributes in honor of the late athlete and as an homage to the other victims, both teams also wore patches with nine stars to represent all who were lost in the crash, including John Altobelli, Keri Altobelli, Alyssa Altobelli, Sarah Chester, Payton Chester, Christina Mauser and pilot Ara Zobayan.
Part of the game was also reworked in Bryant’s honor. The format changed in the fourth quarter with the scores of each of the previous three quarters getting tallied up. Instead of going by a time limit, a target score was set that each team had to get to in order to win. The target score is decided by adding 24 points — in honor of Bryant — to the winning score after three quarters.
Even more, the All-Star Game MVP honor — awarded to L.A. Clippers player Kawhi Leonard on Sunday — was renamed the Kia NBA All-Star Game Kobe Bryant MVP Award.
“You could definitely feel [Bryant’s] presence just from the start,” LeBron James told reporters after the game. “From every moment from the fans chanting his name till you seen the numbers. Every time you saw Giannis’ team run on the floor, you saw the 2-4. So he was definitely here.”
Regarding the pregame Bryant tributes and all the Mamba-inspired dedications, James said, “anything else would be uncivilized.”
If you would like to help the families of the victims of the crash, consider donating to the Mamba on Three Fund. Contributions to the Mamba and Mambacita Sports Foundation will help support youth sports.