Before the NBA All-Star festivities could get underway on Chicago's West Side, two basketball legends took the court to pay respect to the late Kobe Bryant and David Stern.
Bryant's former teammate Pau Gasol and WNBA star Sue Bird grabbed the microphone to deliver a tribute to the legacies of Bryant and Stern ahead of the Rising Stars game.
"The passings of NBA Commissioner David Stern and the tragic accident that resulted in the loss of my dear friend and teammate Kobe Bryant along with his beautiful daughter Gigi, and the seven other victims, have left us heartbroken," Gasol said.
Gasol was in Spain when news of Bryant's death broke. The big man told local media he couldn't speak to anyone for days afterward.
As chants of "Kobe" broke out around the stadium, Bird continued to speak on the void they've left and the stories that will be told forever moving forward.
"Like their impact on the court and the game," Bird said. "They'll never be forgotten."