Despite nearly three million signatures on a petition and the support of some NBA players for the league to change its logo to Kobe Bryant in the wake of the Lakers legend’s tragic death on Sunday, the NBA reportedly has no plans to do so, according to a recent report from Dan Wetzel of Yahoo Sports:
Sources familiar with the league’s thinking said there is no interest in having an individual player as its logo because there are so many who have been instrumental in the growth of the game and the NBA. Generic is better.
The NBA’s thinking is sort of funny, because — as Wetzel notes — even if the league won’t acknowledge it, their logo is already an individual player: Jerry West, who the league has never admitted is the current logo.
But changing the logo to Bryant would be really complicated for a lot of reasons, and as a result its no surprise that it’s not happening. Still, that doesn’t mean the league isn’t going to pay tribute to Bryant in other ways, one of which will be a nod to his No. 24 jersey number in its new NBA All-Star Game format the league announced on Thursday.
In the 69th NBA All-Star Game, Team Giannis and Team LeBron will compete to win each of the first three quarters, all of which will start with the score of 0-0 and will 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 total cumulative score through three quarters and adding 24 points – the 24 representing Bryant’s jersey number for the final 10 seasons of his NBA career. The teams will then play an untimed fourth quarter and the first team to reach the Final Target Score will win the NBA All-Star Game.
For instance, if the cumulative score of the first three quarters is 100-95, the Final Target Score would be set at 124 points. To win the NBA All-Star Game, the team with 100 points would need to score 24 points in the fourth quarter before the team with 95 points scores 29 points, and vice versa. With no minimum or maximum time on the clock in the fourth quarter, the NBA All-Star Game will end with a made basket or a made free throw.
They also put out a helpful explainer graphic:
The NBA just officially announced some changes to the All-Star game this year, one of which is a tribute to the late Kobe Bryant. Explainer: pic.twitter.com/gGQUPqmXsQ— Harrison Faigen (@hmfaigen) January 30, 2020
At first glance, this seems to somewhat needlessly complicate the game. However, it is possible that the NBA also just felt it needed to do something to alter an exhibition game that many agree has lost a lot of its luster. I don’t know if these gimmicks are the right answer to that, but it’s clear the league understands that it needs to make some changes.
And at the very least, the changes will benefit a good cause (again via the NBA’s press release):
As part of NBA All-Star 2020, more than $1 million will be contributed to Chicago community non-profit organizations through NBA Cares outreach efforts. These efforts will culminate during the NBA All-Star Game when each team will play for a Chicago-based charity beneficiary, as selected by team captains Giannis Antetokounmpo of the Milwaukee Bucks and LeBron James of the Los Angeles Lakers.
The community organization selected by the winner of each of the first three quarters will receive $100,000 – a total of $300,000 donated to charity for those three quarters. The winner of each of the first three quarters will be the team with the higher score at the end of the 12-minute quarter.
The winning team in the NBA All-Star Game (i.e., the team that reaches the Final Target Score first) will earn $200,000 for its community organization.
Maybe this will inject some life into the game, and make it more competitive and fun. Or maybe it won’t. I honestly don’t know, and no one else can really be sure, either. We’ll just have to see how it goes, and it’s at least cool that the league is doing this with a nod to Bryant in mind. Because if there was anyone that could get behind the idea of trying to make an exhibition game more competitive, it would be him.