Chicago became the center of the basketball world on Feb. 16, and for one moment ahead of the 2020 NBA All-Star Game, Jennifer Hudson became the voice of every fan of the sport – past, present, and future. Ahead of the gathering of basketball’s best and the brightest, the singer and American Idol icon appeared in the United Center in Chicago, Illinois to deliver a pre-game tribute to the late Kobe Bryant, his 13-year-old daughter Gianna, and the seven others killed in the helicopter crash that claimed their lives. In front of a packed crowd, Jennifer (a Chicago Native) sang her heart out, delivering a moving performance that captured the grief, pain, and heartache that has filled every basketball fan’s heart since Kobe’s death. Against a giant screen featuring highlights from Kobe’s life and career, Jennifer sang “For All We Know.” “For all we know we may never meet again / Before you go make this moment sweet again / We won’t say Good night; until the last minute / I’ll hold out my hand and my heart will be in it.”
Before Jennifer’s powerful performance, LA Lakers legend Magic Johnson said a few words while standing along with all the 2020 NBA All-Star class. Along with celebrating Kobe, Magic spoke about the passing of former NBA commissioner David Stern, who passed away on Jan. 1, 2020. Stern presided over the NBA when Magic came out as HIV+ and thanked David for the support, especially during a time when the public had a greater fear of the disease. After giving love to David Stern, Magic applauded Kobe’s philopatric efforts, the love he had for his family, and the love he had for the game. “We need to embrace each other … come together, love each other,” Magic said, before asking for an 8-second moment of silence.
Following the performance, rapper Common — fresh off his MVP-winning performance in the NBA All-Star Celebrity game – welcomed everyone to his house. The Chicago native narrated an opening that celebrated growing up in Chicago and the importance of basketball to his hometown (while also giving some love to Kobe.) Though ‘The Chi’ will forever be associated with “23,” the number that was on the back of Michael Jordan through his 13 seasons with the Chicago Bulls, this nice was all about numbers 24 and 2, those of “Black Mamba” and his teenage daughter.
Jennifer Hudson sang her heart out in a tribute to Kobe and Gigi 🙏 pic.twitter.com/XVATcBBkyI
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) February 17, 2020
Following the Jan. 26 death of Kobe, Giana, and the seven others aboard the helicopter that crashed on a mountainside in Calabasas, California, the 2020 NBA All-Star Weekend was transformed into a celebration of Kobe Bryant’s legacy both on and off the court. The All-Star Game itself was modified to be a night-long celebration of Kobe and Gianna. This year’s teams – Team LeBron James and Team Giannis Antetokounmpo — will wear Kobe and Giana’s numbers. Team Giannis’s jerseys will bear No. 24, while Team LeBron will proudly sport the No. 2.
On top of this tribute, the game has been restructured in honor of Kobe. The first three quarters will start with a score of 0-0 and be 12 minutes long. At the beginning of the fourth quarter, the game clock will be turned off, and a Final Target Score will be set. The Final Target Score will be determined by taking the leading team’s cumulative score through the first three quarters and adding 24 points. The fourth quarter will also be aired commercial-free.
The 2020 NBA All-Star Game will feature a halftime show performance by Chicago native Chance The Rapper. It was recently announced that DJ Khaled, Quavo, and Lil Wayne will join Chance during the show.