Jennifer Hudson Set to Perform Kobe Bryant Tribute During NBA All-Star Game
Chance the Rapper, Lil Wayne, DJ Khaled and Quavo will perform a halftime show during the game on Sunday
The NBA announced on Thursday that the Oscar winner, 38, will open the 2020 All-Star Game on Sunday with a special tribute to honor the late basketball legend, his daughter Gianna and the seven other victims who died in a helicopter crash last month.
When news of Bryant’s death at age 41 broke on Jan. 26, Hudson reacted to the shocking tragedy on Instagram, sharing a photo of the athlete.
“It’s like every time I go to sleep and then wake up somebody else is gone ! This news Hurts my heart so bad !” she captioned the post at the time.
Chaka Khan will sing the U.S. national anthem, with Canadian anthem duties falling on country artistTenille Arts.
The format of the game itself will also be reworked to honor Bryant.
In the fourth quarter, when the scores of each of the last three quarters are tallied up, instead of setting a time limit, a target score is set that each team has to reach in order to win. The target score is decided by adding 24 points — in honor of Bryant’s legendary jersey number — to the winning score after three quarters.
For example, if one team has a winning score of 100 at the start of the fourth quarter, 124 points will become the target score for either team to win.
The team with the most points in each quarter wins $100,000 for its chosen charity, and the night’s winning team earns another $200,000.
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Held in Chicago’s United Center, the 2020 NBA All-Star Game assembles star players from across the league to go head-to-head. The two teams this year are led by captains LeBron James of the Los Angeles Lakers and Giannis Antetokounmpo of the Milwaukee Bucks.
James, 35, previously opened up about mourning the loss of Bryant and how “every game is going to be emotional” for him and his Lakers teammates moving forward.
“But time heals all, and it’s going to continue to help us every game,” James told reporters earlier this month. “We’ll continue to lean on each other and lean on our crowd. Our crowd is going to be with us.”
He added: “We have to continue to push forward. That’s what he’d want us to do.”
The 69th NBA All-Star Game will air live from Chicago’s United Center on Sunday, Feb. 16, at 8 p.m. ET on TNT.