Heat's Bam Adedayo competes in first of what is expected to be many NBA All-Star Games
Miami Heat forward Bam Adebayo felt like he was in a dream through the first three quarters.
It wasn't until time was expiring in Sunday's NBA All-Star Game he realize the significance of the accomplishment. In his third season, Adebayo participated in the event for the first time. He finished with eight points, two rebounds and an assist for Team Giannis in a 157-155 loss to Team LeBron at United Center in Chicago.
"It hit me toward the end of the game," Adebayo said. "Just looking down the bench and on the court, you start to realize, `I'm an All-Star.' Great experience for me. I'm looking forward to being back. It's a good experience for everybody."
Los Angeles Clippers forward Kawhi Leonard won MVP honors after scoring a game-high 30 points on 11 of 18 shooting for Team LeBron. Giannis Antetokounmpo led his team with 25 points and 11 rebounds. The league used a new format that helped pay tribute to the late Kobe Bryant. After three traditional quarters, the game was decided by which team reached 24 points higher than the team with the lead going into the fourth. The number was chosen because of Bryant's jersey number. There was no time limit. The rules treated fans to an intense finish, with Anthony Davis clinching victory at the free throw line.
"I think it was a great way to honor Kobe," Adebayo said. "You got to see players with the Kobe mentality at the end of the game."
Adebayo is considered one of the league's rising stars. He is averaging career-highs in points (15.8) and rebounds 10.4) and has three triple-doubles this season.
"Happy for him," said teammate Jimmy Butler, who had four points in his fifth All-Star appearance. "He was out there comfortable. Just to experience it with him and seeing that smile on his face, but it won't be the last time that he's out there. He's got a lot more in him."
Adebayo felt the same.
"A lot of nerves, a lot of butterflies, first All-Star game," Adebayo said. "But I feel like I'll be back."