DeRozan might ask to keep Kobe’s ASG jersey as souvenir

DeMar DeRozan tells Blair and Brunt that the entire Raptors roster is part of these historic All-Star festivities, and that playing host is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

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Toronto Raptors stars DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry will be front and centre during this weekend’s NBA’s all-star festivities in their team’s city, but undeniably they’ll be sharing the spotlight with a modern-day NBA legend.

Kobe Bryant is an 18-time all-star but 2016’s game will be his all-star swan song as the Los Angeles Lakers superstar is set to retire at the conclusion of the season.

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DeRozan, a native of Compton, Calif., grew up idolizing Bryant and knows sharing the Air Canada Centre court with him Sunday will be special.

“That’s a memory 15-20 years from now you can look back on and have that memory,” DeRozan told Jeff Blair and Stephen Brunt on Sportsnet 590 The Fan Thursday. “To go out the way he’s going as one of the greatest players of all time…I’m gonna see if I can get his jersey or something.”

This marks DeRozan’s second all-star appearance – his first was in 2014 in New Orleans – and the novelty of being selected won’t be wearing off anytime soon.

“It’s definitely an honour,” DeRozan said. “A lot of people don’t get the opportunity to be one, especially multiple ones, and just being in a pool of guys who are dominant in this league. That’s definitely big. You separate yourself.”

Temperatures are expected to dip to as low as negative-23 degrees Celsius in Toronto this weekend but it’s unlikely to dampen the spirits of many of DeRozan’s non-all-star Raptors teammates.

“Everybody’s definitely a part of it,” DeRozan added. “I think most guys are going to try to stay [in the city during the break]…It’s once in a lifetime to have an all-star game here. I think guys just want to be a part of it, enjoy it. We want to embrace all our teammates and want them to enjoy it with me and Kyle.”

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