Magic Johnson And Jennifer Delivered Emotional Stirring Tribute To Kobe Bryant At The NBA All-Star – VIDEO

Kobe Bryant has been honored at the NBA All-Star game with emotional tributes from basketball legend Magic Johnson and singer Jennifer Hudson.A string of stirring tributes preceded the game on Sunday in Chicago, where teams captained by LeBron James and Giannis Antetokounmpo will wear jerseys honoring Bryant and his daughter Gianna.They, along with seven others, were k!ll-ed in a helicopter cr*sh in Calabasas, California on January 26.

‘We’ll never see another basketball player quite like Kobe,’ said Johnson. ‘We all are hu*ting, this is a to-ugh time for the whole NBA family.’Johnson then asked everyone in the United Center to rise, hold hands, and observe eight seconds of silence, a reference to one of Bryant’s jersey numbers.Singer Jennifer Hudson then delivered an emotional rendition of For All We Know, as photos of Bryant were displayed behind her.

James did not speak before the game, but had earlier told reporters that the players would have Bryant in their hearts during the game.’We know that he’s watching over us. It’s our responsibility to just represent the purple & gold not only for him but for all the greats, everybody that’s ever come through the Lake Show,’ James told reporters on Saturday, according to sports journalist Mark Medina.

James decl!ned to speak further about Bryant, saying: ‘It’s a very, very sensitive subject.’This All-Star weekend is in Michael Jordan’s longtime home of Chicago, which will be highlighted by a game where LeBron James and Giannis Antetokounmpo will serve as captains – but it was, predictably and understandably, overshadowed by Bryant.It’s been three weeks now since he, 13-year-old Gianna and seven others were k!l-led in a helicopter c*ash in Southern California.

The first Kobe Bryant MVP Award will be handed out later Sunday night, given to the player voted as the biggest star of the All-Star Game – a trophy that Bryant ho!sted four times. Jennifer Hudson, wearing the Lakers’ deep purple, performed a pregame tribute to Bryant.Players on James’ team wore Gianna’s No. 2 on their jerseys and players on Antetokounmpo’s team wore Kobe´s No. 24 on theirs. And all players wore a patch with nine stars, one for each v!cti-m of the cr*sh.

Everyone at the All-Star Game on Sunday got a 24-page tribute published by Sports Illustrated dev-oted to Bryant’s career. On the last page of text, just before the back cover, was a quote from Jordan: ‘I loved Kobe – he was like a little brother to me,’ it began. Next to that quote was a photo, Bryant guarding Jordan in 1997, st!cking his tongue out much in the same way that the Bulls’ guard often did.

And in James’ locker room before the game, his team’s cheer coming out of the post-chalk-talk huddle needed no explanation: ‘Mamba on three!,’ they yelled. ‘One! Two! Three! Mamba!’On the morning of the NBA All-Star Game, the league pays tribute to retired players with what is called the Legends Brunch. It brings together about 3,000 guests, and every year a recent retiree with ties to the game´s host city is honored.

When the game was in Los Angeles two years ago, the NBA wanted to honor Kobe Bryant.He declined. He couldn´t attend. His reason: his daughter Gianna Bryant had a game that morning.’That said, to us, everything about his priorities,’ NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said Sunday as he recalled that conversation with Bryant.

It’s a doubly somber time for the NBA, since the league is also coming to grips with the Jan. 1 de*th of Commissioner Emeritus David Stern – the person credited for taking a fle-dgling league and turning it into one of the planet´s most powerful sports brands, a multi-billion-dollar ent!ty with a reach that touches nearly every outpost on earth. Stern was remembered as well at the Legends Brunch, and Silver drew a parallel between Bryant and his former boss.

‘Just as a reminder: Who more embod!es the spirit of All-Star than Kobe? … He always played hard. He didn´t care if it was an All-Star game,’ Silver said. ‘And I think that´s what he and David had in common. They always competed. They believed in the power of sports. They believed in winning and they believed it was necessary to always give their all. And I think that´s why their lo-sses have reso-nated with so many people around the world.’

Magic Johnson – like Bryant, a Los Angeles Lakers legend – had been hired two years ago to introduce Bryant at the Legends Brunch, the one that Bryant couldn´t attend because his daughter had a game that morning.On Sunday, Johnson finally got his chance to speak at the event and pay tribute to Bryant. He told the story about how, before Bryant was drafted in 1996, Jerry West called him to say that he had seen the greatest draft workout that he could recall.

He was speaking of Bryant´s workout.’And I said, `Really,´’ said Johnson, who also paid tribute to Stern and Bryant at United Center before Sunday’s game by addressing fans. ‘He said, `Yes, this guy named Kobe Bryant. Just was incredible in his workout and we´re going to do everything we can to draft him.’

The rest is history. Bryant came to the Lakers in a draft-night trade and played there for 20 years, winning five titles. Johnson said he was quickly impressed with Bryant’s work ethic, how he would work for two hours before practice and then go through another two-hour session with the team.

‘That’s who Kobe Bryant was,’ Johnson said. ‘He was always thinking about `How can I get better? How can I lead my team to v!ctory?´ And when you think about him scoring 81 points in a game, only second to Wilt Chamberlain, and then five NBA championships, and then to score 60 points in his last game – that was probably the greatest thing I’ve ever seen from any athlete. He said, `Hey, I´m going to go out Mamba-style.´’

The brunch this year paid tribute this year to four individuals: USA Basketball managing director Jerry Colangelo received the Lifetime Achievement award, newly retired three-time NBA champion and Chicago native Dwyane Wade received the Community Ambassador award, retired WNBA player and another Chicago native Cappie Pondexter was the Hometown Hero recipient, and longtime Chicago Bulls star and six-time NBA champion Scottie Pippen was the Legend of the Year.

Pippen was at his Los Angeles home when he got the news on January 26 about Bryant.’It was a we!rd morning,’ Pippen said. ‘And I’m still today regr-etting that I didn’t get a chance to tell Kobe Bryant how great he really was.’

This Article First Published On DAILYMAIL

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