The NBA’s plan for honoring Kobe Bryant at this weekend’s All-Star Game in Chicago is taking shape.
Grammy winner and Windy City native Jennifer Hudson will perform a tribute to Bryant, his daughter Gianna and the seven other people killed in a Jan. 26 helicopter crash, the NBA announced Thursday morning. Hudson will perform before player introductions for Sunday’s 69th All-Star Game.
Prior to tip-off, Chaka Khan, also a Grammy winner and Chicago native, will sing the U.S. national anthem. Country musician Tenille Arts will sing the Canadian national anthem.
A third Grammy winner and Chicago native, Chance the Rapper, previously was unveiled as halftime performer for the All-Star Game. The league also announced Thursday he’ll be joined by Lil Wayne, DJ Khaled and Quavo.
“NBA All-Star. It happens every year. But this year is different,” Chance says in a TNT promo released this week. “The game will have more meaning than it’s ever had before.
“The league, the fans, the players will all pay tribute to the legendary Kobe Bryant. For an entire generation he defined the title ‘NBA All-Star.’
“Chicago will glow with a warmth and a brilliance that it’s never had before. It’s the ultimate celebration.”
Two weeks ago, the NBA announced format changes for this year’s All-Star Game that include tributes to Bryant and his daughter. The team captained by Giannis Antetokounmpo will wear Kobe’s No. 24, and LeBron James’ team will wear Gianna’s No. 2.
Changes to the game include turning each quarter into a mini-game for charity before an untimed fourth quarter to determine the overall winner. For the fourth, a target score will be set by the total points the team in the lead scored over the first three quarters, plus 24 in another tribute to Bryant.
— USA TODAY SPORTS