Going into the 2020 NBA All-Star Celebrity Game, there was one question: who was going to step up and do it for Kobe Bryant? Though the Feb. 14 game was taking place in Chicago at the Wintrust Arena, the Windy City transformed into Kobe-central for the star-studded event. With two former All-Star Celebrity MVPs in the game – Famous Los, on Team Michael Wilbon and Quavo on Team Stephen A Smith – many watched to see if the Migos rapper or the comedian would become a two-time MVP. In the end the fans voted and Common came away as the MVP. He had 10 points, five rebounds and five assists for Team Michael Wilbon. “I just wanted to represent Chicago. I wanted to represent my city,” he said when accepting the trophy, as All-star weekend is going down in Common’s hometown.
Famous Los took home the MVP at the 2019 NBA All-Star Game. He scored 22 points, 2 rebounds, and 3 assists during the 82-80 game. The Home team barely squeaked by, and Los’s 22 points nudged out the other high scorer of the game, retired NBA star Ray Allen. Quavo, who played against Los, handed him the trophy before passing along some congratulatory words. “He said I played a good game, that I was better than him and I deserve it,” said Los, and the Migos rapper said, “I passed the torch to another good player.”
Normally, the NBA All-Star game is a jovial affair, a chance for musicians, actors, and non-basketball athletes to fulfill their sports dreams. Yet, with the death of Kobe Bryant on Jan. 26 looming overhead, this game – and the whole NBA All-Star Weekend – was a way to honor the late NBA icon. While Kobe was in the hearts of everyone playing at the Wintrust Arena this night, the biggest tribute will take place on Sunday, Feb. 16 at the United Center. The 2020 NBA All-Star Game will be a huge sendoff to Kobe. Members of Team LeBron James will wear the number 2 in honor of 13-year-old Gianna Bryant, who was killed alongside Kobe and seven others in the fatal helicopter crash that took the NBA icon’s life. Team Giannis Antetokounmpo will wear the No. 24 in honor of Kobe (who wore 24 in high school, and wanted 24 when he started as a rookie, but it was unavailable at the time.)
— ESPN (@espn) February 15, 2020
The NBA has been holding an All-Star Celebrity game since 2003, but didn’t implement an MVP award until 2005. Brian McKnight was the inaugural winner of the award. Over the years, stars like Nelly, Tony Potts, Michael Rapaport, Justin Bieber, Win Butler, Brandon Armstrong, Quavo and Famous Los would take home the trophy. Terrell Owens became the first two-time MVP winner, claiming the award in back-to-back years (2008-09.) Kevin Hart remains the all-time winningest MVP. He went back-to-back-to-back-to-back from 2012 to 2015. In 2014, Kevin was awarded the MVP (which was decided by a fan vote) but he felt like he didn’t deserve it since he had only scored 7 points and 4 assists. Instead, he opted to share it with U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, who scored 20 points, 11 rebounds and 6 assists.