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Kobe Bryant tributes will be cathartic, painful

LOS ANGELES — Nearly 28 years ago, the NBA spent All-Star weekend celebrating a star’s unexpected appearance. Nearly four years ago, the NBA spent All-Star weekend honoring a star’s career. And now, the NBA will spend All-Star weekend mourning a star’s death.

It has given the Los Angeles Lakers plenty to process.

Nearly three months after announcing he was diagnosed with HIV, Magic Johnson appeared as a starter in the 1992 NBA All-Star Game and finished with the MVP award. As part of his season-long farewell tour to cap a 20-year career, Kobe Bryant spent the 2016 All-Star Game receiving countless tributes and gifts. And less than a month since his death, along with daughter Gianna and seven other friends who were en route to an AAU game, Bryant will be honored throughout All-Star weekend in Chicago.

“We believe that pretty much every arena we go to is going to be some type of emotion, just because of the impact the guy had as an opponent, his competitive nature and as a winner,” Lakers star LeBron James said. “We understand that. We’re going to continue to lean on each other, no matter what’s going on.”

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