Well, that was AMAZING.

The 2020 NBA All-Star Game was set to be an emotional occasion, featuring Team LeBron vs. Team Giannis in an all new format. More importantly, it was a night to celebrate the legacy and lives of Kobe Bryant, his daughter, Gianna, and the seven others who were killed in January’s tragic helicopter crash.

That new format, which was dedicated to the memory of Kobe, gave us arguably the greatest All-Star Game in recent memory, as both teams played with Finals-level intensity in the fourth quarter. In the end, Anthony Davis stepped to the free throw line and, in a slightly anticlimactic moment, gave Team LeBron the win with a free throw.

Kawhi Leonard went off for 30 points, seven rebounds, four assists, and some elite defense — yes, in an All-Star Game — to become the first ever Kobe Bryant All-Star Game MVP:

Now, maybe a game-winning free throw isn’t perfect, but the new All-Star Game format was undoubtedly a success — as was the entire event.

This was a night for Kobe, after all, and the tributes led the way on Sunday. Jennifer Hudson delivered a powerful, absolutely must-see performance in homage to those we lost:

Magic Johnson opened with a tribute to Kobe and to David Stern, who died on January 1:

Before his player introductions, Common celebrated both Kobe and the city of Chicago:

(And oh by the way, those player introductions were 🔥.)

And Kobe imagery was everywhere:

As for the game? It was all about that fourth quarter.

After Team LeBron took a hefty first quarter lead, Team Giannis bounced back to control much of the affair, taking a 133-124 lead into the fourth quarter. That set the target score at 157 — That 133 score plus 24 more points, in honor of Kobe.

And at that point, it was game on:

We even had a charge! A charge drawn! In the All-Star Game!

Seriously, these guys were INVESTED:

That fourth quarter intensity gave us an incredible moment between Giannis and LeBron, too:

Followed by another Kyle Lowry drawn charge, because this game mattered.

But Lowry’s hustle wasn’t enough, as Team LeBron squeaked out the victory.

Still, let’s back it up to the beginning. Earlier in the night, LeBron got the night started with a dunk that would have been right at home on Saturday night:

Then added another one:

In fact, Team LeBron posted a 50-burger (and then some) in the first quarter, winning $100,000 for the Chicago Scholars in the process:

The second quarter started with more of the same. Devin Booker shocked the world with a putback “dunk”:

And Chris Paul (?) threw down an alley-oop (?!?) …

Our normally scheduled All-Star Game was then interrupted by the mascots doing … something …

And maybe that’s (somehow) exactly what Team Giannis needed, as Antetokounmpo’s squad took a second-quarter lead:

… capped by Trae Young’s ludicrous half-court buzzer beater to end the quarter:

Remember, the score resets at the end of each quarter, with both teams trying to win the frame for charity, before the scores are totaled at the end of the third quarter for the final sprint to the target score.

Halftime gave us another touching Kobe tribute during Chance the Rapper’s outstanding performance:

Once the third quarter got underway, Kawhi stayed hot from 3, but Team Giannis maintained its sizable lead:

LeBron kept putting on a show …

Then, a funny thing happened. The third quarter was the first one that was relatively close as the clock started to wind down … and with money for charity on the line, both teams started playing hard, intentionally fouling and the whole nine yards:

It set the stage for an epic showdown in the fourth, which is exactly what we got.

We’re not going to lie, NBA — we were big, big fans of your new All-Star Game format. You really might have just hosted the greatest All-Star Game of all time. For Kobe.

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