LeBron James moved up to second on the all-time list for NBA All-Star Game appearances on Sunday.

James – leading Team LeBron against Team Giannis in Chicago – surpassed Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant with his 16th appearance.

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar holds the All-Star record with 18.

Lakers superstar James also eclipsed Bryant for third on the NBA's all-time scoring list last month, a day before the five-time champion's tragic death.

Bryant, 41, and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna were killed in a helicopter crash, along with seven others in Calabasas, California.

Magic Johnson led tributes for Bryant, the Lakers great making a speech at the United Center as the lights went down.

"We'll never see another basketball player quite like Kobe," said Johnson, who led an eight-second moment of silence for Bryant – the number the 2008 MVP wore during the early stages of his illustrious career. "Scoring 81 points in one game. Scoring 60 points in his last game. And then winning five NBA championships.

"But what I'm really proud about when we think about Kobe Bryant, there's millions of people in Los Angeles that don't have a home. Kobe was fighting to get them homes and shelter every single day. He was passionate about that.

"He was also passionate about being a great father, husband, filmmaker. Young man won an Oscar. So we all are hurting. This is a tough time for the whole NBA family."

The NBA has permanently renamed the annual All-Star MVP award after the late Kobe Bryant, commissioner Adam Silver announced on Saturday.

Los Angeles Lakers legend Bryant claimed the trophy a joint-record four times during his highly decorated career and will now forever have his name tied to the trophy.

The 18-time All-Star died in a helicopter crash alongside his 13-year-old daughter Gianna and seven others in California last month.

Silver said: "Kobe Bryant is synonymous with NBA All-Star and embodies the spirit of this global celebration of our game.

"He always relished the opportunity to compete with the best of the best and perform at the highest level for millions of fans around the world."

The first award linked to Bryant's name will be presented following Sunday's game between Team LeBron and Team Giannis in Chicago.

Team captain and Milwaukee Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo paid tribute to Bryant's star power and willingness to support young players.

"Growing up he was my idol," the reigning NBA MVP told reporters. "Not just my idol, probably the whole generation, a lot of people my age's idol. He was the Michael Jordan of our generation.

"He was one of these guys who gave back to the game so much, gave back to the players.

"A lot of people, when they're so great, they don't do that. Whenever I needed something, I could just reach out to him. He was always there."

Kobe Bryant, Tim Duncan and Kevin Garnett were named among the finalists to be considered for induction into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2020.

Bryant died aged 41 in a helicopter crash alongside his 13-year-old daughter Gianna and seven others in California last month.

The Los Angeles Lakers great, an 18-time All-Star and five-time champion, was one of four first-time finalists named on Friday.

Duncan, the former San Antonio Spurs star with 15 All-Star appearances and five championships, and Garnett – another NBA great – are also finalists.

A four-time Olympic gold medallist with the United States, Tamika Catchings is the other first-time finalist.

Kim Mulkey, Barbara Stevens, Eddie Sutton and Rudy Tomjanovich are previous finalists also up for consideration again.

"When the nominees for the Class of 2020 were announced in December, we knew this class had the potential of being one of the most historic of all time," Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame chairman Jerry Colangelo said in a statement.

"The untimely passing of Kobe Bryant has left us in a state of reflective mourning and we're proud to honour his legacy while also recognising seven other individuals who have meant so much to our game.

"We congratulate our finalists and those who have supported them on their journeys, and we look forward to revealing the Class of 2020 at the Final Four in Atlanta."

The announcement will take place on April 4.

Director Spike Lee wore a suit in honour of Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant at the Academy Awards.

Bryant, 41, and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna were tragically killed in a helicopter crash last month, along with seven others in Calabasas, California.

Tributes have continued to pour in for five-time NBA champion and 2008 MVP Bryant and all the victims of the crash.

Bryant won an Oscar in 2018 for best animated short film and famous New York Knicks fan Lee paid tribute by wearing a purple suit – with the number 24 – inspired by the Lakers great on Sunday.

LeBron James referenced the film 'The 6th Man' to explain his unintended tribute to Los Angeles Lakers great Kobe Bryant, who died in a helicopter crash last month.

During Thursday's 121-111 home loss to the Houston Rockets, James slammed a double-clutch reverse finish off a fast break, a play that looked identical to a dunk performed by Bryant against the Sacramento Kings at Staples Center in November 2001.

When asked about the similarities, the four-time NBA MVP referred to a movie in which a basketball player's dead family member and team-mate comes back as a ghost to help him achieve success.

"Ever see the movie 'The 6th Man'? Kobe came down, put himself in my body and gave me that dunk on that break," said James after a 125-120 win over the Golden State Warriors on Saturday.

"I didn't really predetermine that either until I jumped. I just jumped and kind of figured it out, and then ... it's crazy how it's like the same exact dunk, the same exact hoop that Kobe did [it on] – what, 19 years ago or something like that? That was nice."

The Lakers tweeted a video showing the two dunks playing out simultaneously and it has been viewed over 24 million times.

"Our great social media team put that together, and I was like, 'That's really, really good.' And then my son did the same thing in his warm-up, he didn't do it in a game but he did the same dunk in his warm-up. Kobe is in all of us right now," said James.

"It's crazy, it's crazy. For that to now be a part of my history, that correlation between me and Kobe and that play, I think it's pretty, pretty, pretty awesome. I'm glad I did it in a Laker uniform."

A spectacular image of James' dunk was caught by NBA photographer Andrew D Bernstein and the 16-time All-Star intends to make it a permanent fixture in his house.

"When I saw it for the first time, I was like, 'Holy s***, that is an unbelievable photo,'" James said.

"And then when I found out how it was taken: Andy literally had one snap on his remote to get that, and when I saw the video of it, when I was in the air, you can see the flash in the background.

"I was like, 'Oh … He's the real MVP, for sure.' That was crazy. To catch that moment, like I'm walking on air, it's pretty cool. It'll be hung up in my house."

An investigation into the helicopter crash that killed Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna has found no evidence of major internal engine failure.

NBA great Bryant, 41, and his 13-year-old daughter Gianni were among nine people who tragically died when the aircraft they were travelling in came down in Calabasas, California last month.

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) on Friday released its preliminary findings from the January 26 crash, revealing the two engines appeared to be working at the time of impact as a piece of cut tree branch was found 30 feet from the impact crater.

It was also stated that significant components of the helicopter were located within the wreckage area and examination of main and tail rotor assemblies "found damage consistent with powered rotation at the time of impact."

The main wreckage was about 127 feet from a two-foot-deep impact crater and the helicopter's instrument panel was totally destroyed.

Prior to crashing, the 50-year-old pilot asked for special clearance to proceed into airspace that was otherwise limited to instrument-controlled flights due to a low cloud ceiling and low visibility.

During his last transmission the pilot, who had been flying for Island Express Helicopters for about 10 years, said he was climbing to 4,000 feet to get above cloud layers.

The helicopter rose to about 1,500 feet above Highway 101 but started to descend as it turned left and the rate of descent increased to 4,000 feet per minute at a ground speed of 160 knots, the report stated.

A witness said the area where the helicopter, which he saw for up to two seconds after it emerged from the clouds, crashed was surrounded by mist.

It was also noted that videos and photos taken by the public in the area of the accident depict fog and low clouds obscuring the hilltops.

Vanessa Bryant, Kobe's wife, revealed a celebration of the life of her husband and teenage daughter Gianna will take place at Staples Center on February 24.

A celebration of the life of Kobe and Gianni Bryant will take place at Staples Center on February 24.

NBA legend Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter Gianni were among nine people who tragically died in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California last month.

Vanessa Bryant, the Los Angeles Lakers great's wife, confirmed a memorial service will be staged at 10am local time on the last Monday of this month, with further details to follow.

She said the date was significant as talented basketballer Gianna wore number two and Kobe - who was 41 when his life was cut short - donned the 24 jersey late in his phenomenal 20-year career with the Lakers.

The Los Angeles Clippers take on the Memphis Grizzlies at Staples Center on February 24, but Lee Zeidman, president of Staples Center, said there will be no problem getting the court ready after what will be an emotional event.

"Staples Center has hosted over 220 doubleheaders in its 20-year history," Zeidman said.

"While this is going to be a very emotional day for the Bryant family, the Los Angeles Lakers, the City of Los Angeles, as well as for the men and women who work at Staples Center.

"We are very confident we will be ready for 6pm doors opening for the Clippers-Memphis game following the ceremony."

LeBron James revealed he decided to wear number two in the NBA All-Star Game in honour of Gianna Bryant and for his own daughter, Zhuri.

The tributes will continue for Kobe Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna, who were among nine people killed in a helicopter crash on January 26, during the All-Star Game later this month.

James' team will wear Gianna's number two, while Giannis Antetokounmpo's side will don the 24 Kobe made famous during his glittering NBA career with the Los Angeles Lakers.

Lakers star James said he had been asked about which number he wanted his team to wear in Chicago on February 16.

"They asked me which number did I want to wear, the 24 or the two, for my team and I picked two," he told a news conference on Monday. "Giannis is going to wear 24 for their team."

Asked why he chose two, James replied: "Zhuri", referring to his five-year-old daughter.

James' Lakers are back at the Staples Center on Tuesday, hosting the San Antonio Spurs.

The three-time NBA champion said the Lakers needed to stick together during what would be an emotional season in the wake of Bryant's shock death.

"Every game is going to be emotional," James said.

"You're going to look up in the rafters, you're going to see that eight, that 24, you're going to see the decal on the floor.

"Every game is going to be emotional, but obviously time heals all, it's going to continue to help us every game, every day.

"We're going to continue to lean on each other, lean on the crowd, the crowd is going to lean on us and we've got to continue to push forward because that's what he'd want us to do."

The PGA Tour will honour the late Kobe Bryant by altering the location of the 16th hole during the final round of the Phoenix Open.

The sporting world has paid tribute to Bryant, who died in a helicopter crash on Sunday alongside his 13-year-old daughter Gianna and seven others.

The PGA Tour will honour the Los Angeles Lakers great at the 16th hole, which will be cut 24 paces on and eight from the left edge of the green in respect of the two numbers Bryant made famous during his glittering NBA career.

The flag will be yellow with a purple 24 on one side and eight on the other.

"I think that's awesome," said Rickie Fowler, who is tied for 40th heading into the final round.

"It's a cool gesture. You can't do enough for what Kobe has done and the impact he's had around the world."

Tony Finau, who has paid his respects to Bryant during the tournament, holds a one-stroke lead over Webb Simpson after the third round.

Emmanuel Sanders will remember Kobe Bryant at Super Bowl LIV as the San Francisco 49ers wide receiver shared pictures of his custom cleats.

NBA great Bryant, 41, his daughter Gianna, 13, and seven others were killed in a helicopter crash in California last weekend.

Both the NFL and Super Bowl half-time acts Shakira and Jennifer Lopez are expected to remember Bryant's life in Miami on Sunday when the Niners face the Kansas City Chiefs.

The day before the sport's showpiece event, Sanders revealed details of a personal tribute, uploading images of red and gold cleats with a picture of Bryant, the words 'rest in peace' and the numbers 24 and 8, which adorned his jersey when he played for the Los Angeles Lakers.

Alongside the images, Sanders wrote the Bryant quote: "I'll do whatever it takes to win. Whether it's sitting on the bench waiving a towel. Handing out cups of water to my teammates or hitting the game winning shot.”

LeBron James feels Kobe Bryant was the happiest he had ever been following his retirement from basketball, as it allowed him to devote time to his family.

Bryant ended his 20-year NBA career in 2016 at the age of 38, having won five titles with the Los Angeles Lakers. He was also named the league's MVP in 2008 and was an 18-time All-Star.

The Lakers legend spent much of his post-playing days with his wife and four children before his death on Sunday. The 41-year-old, along with his 13-year-old daughter Gianna, was one of nine people killed in a helicopter crash in California.

James gave an emotional speech inside the Staples Center on Friday prior to tip-off in the team's first game since Bryant's death, describing him as a "brother".

The 35-year-old knows all too well the sacrifices that have to be made to reach the top in professional sport, as he explained to the media after the 127-119 defeat against the Portland Trail Blazers.

"These last three years, out of all the success he had – five rings, multiple MVPs, All-Star Game MVP of this league, first team for all-life, all-world, all-basketball – felt like these last three years were the happiest I've ever seen him," James said of Bryant.

"Being able to just be with his daughters, be with his family, because when we're playing this game of basketball, we give so much to it. This is my 17th year, so I know.

"Unfortunately, your family comes to the wayside at times, because when you want to be great at something, when you want to be the best at something, you become so driven that you won't let anything stand in the way of it. Not even your own family sometimes.

"We get compared all the time to greatness, and that makes us even more driven and shadowed away from our own family. That's the difficult part that we deal with as professional athletes and when you want to be great.

"To see him these last three years, and to see the #girldad these last few days, it just puts everything in perspective. Yes, it's a beautiful game, it's taken us all over the world and given us so many things that we can never ever complain about, or never be in another position to accomplish this, from you guys writing the stories to playing the game, we are all covering it all over the world.

"But, at the end of the day, we all punch our clocks. Either we're done for the day, or done doing what we are doing, but just make sure you hug the s*** out of your family.

"If you've got kids, tell them you love them. Try to make it to as much as you can, and don't feel bad if you happen to go to one of your loved one's events, or something like that, and sacrifice your job.

"I didn't feel bad in Boston when I went to go and see my son two hours away in Springfield and we [the Lakers] had a game that night and got our ass kicked. I didn't feel bad at all."

LeBron James unveiled a "Mamba 4 Life" tattoo after the death of Los Angeles Lakers great Kobe Bryant.

Bryant, 41, and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna were killed in a helicopter crash on Sunday, along with seven others in Calabasas, California.

Lakers superstar James, who surpassed five-time NBA champion and 2008 MVP Bryant for third on the all-time points list on Saturday, has been hit hard by the tragedy.

In a lasting tribute to Bryant, James used Instagram to unveil his tattoo: a black snake, a flower, with the numbers 24 and 8 – worn by the Lakers legend – above the writing "Mamba 4 Life".

James and the Lakers are preparing to play for the first time on Friday since the tragedy – a game against the Portland Trail Blazers.

Tuesday's showdown with neighbours the Los Angeles Clippers at Staples Center was postponed.

It comes as the NBA continues to honour Bryant, his daughter Gianna and the seven other victims.

On Friday, the NBA and National Basketball Players Association (NBPA) announced the 2020 All-Star uniforms will pay tribute to the pair.

Team LeBron (James) will wear number two and Team Giannis (Antetokounmpo) number 24 – Gianna and Kobe's basketball jersey numbers respectively.

In addition, both teams will wear jersey patches displaying nine stars, representing those who lost their lives in the crash.

The All-Star Game will take place at the United Center in Chicago on February 16.

Kobe Bryant was the "most inspirational athlete of our time" and "the best friend anyone could ever imagine," his former agent and Los Angeles Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka said.

Pelinka issued a heartfelt statement on Thursday remembering Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna, who were among nine people killed in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California on Sunday.

Pelinka, 50, developed a close relationship with five-time NBA champion Bryant throughout their long association and was Gianna's godfather.

He described their deaths as being "an amputation of part of my soul."

"Kobe was a force of nature, deep and obsessed with excellence," the Lakers GM said in the statement.

"He was wise, determined, passionate. A visionary beyond measure. A dedicated and loving husband, and a 'girl-dad' like no other.

"When he walked into a room, the energy ignited. He was high voltage, with a motor that had no limits. His mind had an infinite capacity to learn. He was, simply put, the most inspirational athlete of our time.

"What the world may not know is that he was also the best friend anyone could ever imagine.

"Gigi was pure joy. Her smile brought comfort to any and every occasion. She was brilliant, kind and warm.

"And, like her dad, when she stepped onto the basketball court, she took on an entirely different nature, and boy could she play. Her basketball destiny was apparent, and the world knew it.

"She was also an extraordinary, loyal and supportive sister, and a wonderful friend to my children. My son and daughter always left time with Gigi feeling better about life itself. Everything Gigi stood for, I am so proud of."

Pelinka described the nine deaths as leaving "an irreplaceable void" for those who knew them and vowed to carry on Bryant and Gianna's legacies.

The Lakers, who will return to the floor against the Portland Trail Blazers on Friday, have used their website to promote the Mamba Sports Foundation's MambaOnThree Fund, set up to financially support the families affected by the tragedy.

Shakira and Jennifer Lopez promised to remember Kobe Bryant at the Super Bowl LIV half-time show in Miami on Sunday.

The Kansas City Chiefs will face the San Francisco 49ers at Hard Rock Stadium exactly a week on from the shock death of Bryant and his daughter, Gianna, who were killed in a helicopter crash in California.

Bryant, a five-time NBA champion and 18-time All-Star with the Los Angeles Lakers, was a role model for many of the NFL players that will take to the field on Sunday.

Shakira, who will perform during the interval at the Super Bowl as a co-headliner with Lopez, revealed her long-time boyfriend, Barcelona defender Gerard Pique, was also deeply affected by the news and said she will be thinking of Bryant when she performs on Sunday.

"Gerard, my partner, called me with the sad news, he was affected because he knew Kobe and I knew him too, he went to one of my shows," Shakira said.

"I can't imagine the pain that his family must be going through right now. Life is so fragile and that's why we have to live every moment as intensely as we can.

"I think we will all be remembering Kobe on Sunday and we will be celebrating life and diversity in this country. I'm sure he would be very proud to see the message that we are going to be trying to convey on stage that day.

"I think it's a very important moment for the Latino community in this country. The Super Bowl is a very American event, it's as American as it can get, and I think it's going to be very nice that it's also going to be a reminder of the heritage of this country, which is one of diversity; that's what we will be celebrating on Sunday."

Lopez posted an emotional tribute to Bryant and his family on Instagram and she was choked up discussing the impact it had had on her and her fiancee, MLB great Alex Rodriguez.

"I was in the middle of rehearsing and talking about this show and Alex came to me with tears in his eyes and he said, 'You're not going to believe what happened'," Lopez explained.

"He was devastated. He knew Kobe very well, they came up together and entered sports around the same time. He was just devastated. I knew Kobe and Vanessa more in passing. He had come to my last show in Vegas, the both of them, as a date night. We had a beautiful night that night.

"I think it's affecting everybody so much because it's just reminding us again how fragile life is, how we have to appreciate every single moment, how we have to love people when they're here and not wait. How we don't get the opportunity – it can be taken away from us so easily. 

"Then I think about Vanessa as a mum and losing her best friend and partner, and losing her child. I think how awful that must for her be right now. I just wanted to send her a message and just been praying that God guides her through every moment because she has three more babies to take care of.

"Just wishing that the nightmare was over but it's not going to be and that's life, we have to carry on but at the same time it affects us and will affect us forever. Hopefully we will remember this moment and what we're trying to do is spread love, kindness and bring everybody together.

"In this week, this happening has a sound around the world that we have to love each other, and we have to be together and support each other. We can't be so at odds all the time and that's part of our mission and message too."

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