The 2020 NBA All-Star Weekend kicked into full gear with Friday’s annual Celebrity Game (Feb. 14). Presented by Ruffles and held at Chicago’s Wintrust Arena, the home team lead by Pardon the Interruption host Michael Wilbon went head-to-head against the away team coached by Stephen A. Smith of ESPN’s First Take.
Artists and comedians including captain Chance the Rapper, Jidenna, Lil Rel Howry, Hannibal Buress and more dueled it out on the court with their respective teammates. To add a more entertaining element to the night, players participated in short, break-away competitions. To switch up the pace of the game, basketball legends Quentin Richardson and Darius Miles participated in a shoot out which allowed the winner to add a fellow basketball legend to their team.
After winning, Richardson and Team Wilbon were given first possession for the third quarter with former player, Horace Grant joining the squad in his Chicago Bulls jersey. To add fuel to the fire, Stephen A. sounded called on three-time NBA Slam Dunk champion Nate Robinson to join his team on the court.
Team Wilbon took home the win after defeating Team Stephen A 62-47, former ball boy Common was awarded the Most Valuable Player Award in his hometown after scoring 10 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists, and 4 steals. After being handed the trophy, Common chatted shortly about the game, coming MVP, and his favorite experience/moment with the late, great Kobe Bryant.
“Honestly, one of my favorite moments…it wasn’t basketball. It was seeing him at the Oscars and talking to him and Vanessa and seeing how happy he was,” the hip-hop legend recalls. “I saw a side of Kobe that was really not only humble but also just appreciative of what that journey was. To do a film, to produce a film, create a film and it be nominated for an Oscar and then he went on to win it.
“This was right before he won it. We were talking about it and I could tell his excitement was there. It was a beautiful thing. I’ll always cherish that moment.”
Common went on to share another moment when he caught up with Bryant after an All-Star Game, where he met a young Gianna and the Bryant family. Watch our on-court interview with Grammy award-winning artist and actor above.