USA TODAY Sports suggests how NBA icon could be honored

NBA on TNT honors icon with hour-long special

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A Kobe Bryant statue outside of Staples Center is a given.

It will happen and an announcement could come soon because Los Angeles Lakers protocol is to unveil a statue when a former Lakers player enters the Hall of Fame. In his first year of Hall eligibility, Bryant is guaranteed enshrinement this year. That ceremony is scheduled for the last weekend in August.

Maybe because of the tragedy in which Bryant, his daughter, Gianna, and seven others were killed in a helicopter accident, the Lakers will expedite a statue alongside Lakers greats Magic Johnson, Elgin Baylor, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Shaquille O’Neal, Jerry West and longtime announcer Chick Hearn.

But what else could the Lakers and the NBA do to honor Bryant, whose numbers (24 and 8) already are retired by the franchise?

The Lakers likely will honor Bryant at their next scheduled home game, Friday against the Portland Trail Blazers, with a moment of silence. And probably a video montage.

But what about the rest of the season? And the Feb. 16 All-Star Game, which attracts so many eyeballs, just 2½ weeks away?

Some suggestions from USA TODAY Sports staff:

Fans write messages to pay tribute to Kobe Bryant in front of the United Center, home of the 2020 NBA All-Star Game.

► Teams wear a KB patch with one of his numbers on it, or a similar patch, to commemorate Bryant for the remainder of the season.

► Name the Lakers’ court after Bryant – Kobe Bryant Court at Staples Center.

► Name the All-Star MVP award after Bryant, who won it four times, tied with Bob Pettit for most in history.

► To honor his No. 24, instead of four 12-minute quarters at the All-Star Game, the league could play two 24-minute halves.

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