CHICAGO — The tributes to the late Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna started effectively earlier than Sunday evening’s All-Star Recreation on the United Heart.

Earlier than the gamers have been introduced and the sport tipped off, the lights went down, and Corridor of Famer Magic Johnson took middle stage to make a speech honoring the Lakers legend.

“We’ll by no means see one other basketball participant fairly like Kobe,” mentioned Johnson, who additionally paid tribute to David Stern, the late NBA commissioner emeritus. “Scoring 81 factors in a single recreation. Scoring 60 factors in his final recreation. After which successful 5 NBA championships.

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“However what I am actually proud about after we take into consideration Kobe Bryant, there’s hundreds of thousands of individuals in Los Angeles that do not have a house. Kobe was combating to get them properties and shelter each single day. He was keen about that. He was additionally keen about being a terrific father, husband, filmmaker. Younger man received an Oscar. So all of us are hurting. It is a powerful time for the entire NBA household.”

Johnson led the gang — which chanted “Kobe! Kobe!” — in an eight-second second of silence in a nod to the quantity Bryant wore the primary half of his profession.

Chicagoan Jennifer Hudson, carrying a costume within the Lakers’ deep purple group shade, carried out “For All We Know (We Could By no means Meet Once more)” as photos of Bryant flashed on a display behind the stage.

South Facet product Widespread adopted with a rap devoted to the good gamers from town, in addition to Bryant, earlier than he dealt with the introductions of the gamers.

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“A king named Kobe Bryant,” Widespread rapped as the sector lights lit up in purple and gold. “Even within the darkest occasions, you may really feel Kobe’s gentle.”

As well as, there was a video that featured Jesse Williams, amongst others, speaking about Bryant’s relationship with Chicago Bulls champion Michael Jordan.

“Kobe, we miss you and I hope we made you proud,” Johnson later tweeted.

Kobe, we miss you and I hope we made you proud.

— Earvin Magic Johnson (@MagicJohnson) February 17, 2020

Chicago native Likelihood the Rapper additionally paid tribute to Kobe and Gianna throughout his halftime efficiency.

The Related Press contributed to this report.