Former Los Angeles Lakers great Kobe Bryant putting together an incredible 20-year career in the NBA. That saw him achieve many different accolades along the way in his sure-fire first-ballot Hall of Fame career. That also saw Bryant earn 18 All-Star Game selections, which is only second to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (19) for the NBA record. That has presented Bryant the opportunity to put forth memorable performances along the way at the event that have only added to his legacy.
2011 NBA All-Star Game MVP
The stage was set for Bryant to take advantage of the game being played on his home court at Staples Center. It was the season coming after he led the Lakers to their second consecutive NBA title.
Bryant showed out in a significant way but putting forth a masterful performance against his peers with a game-high 37 points along with 14 bounds, three assists, and three steals while shooting 43.8% from the floor. He was the guiding factor for the Western Conference in the contest that pushed them to a 148-143 win.
His production helped guide them past a triple-double effort from LeBron James that nearly helped the East make a fourth-quarter comeback. Bryant’s outing earned him his fourth and final All-Star Game MVP award, which he is still tied with Bob Pettit for the all-time mark.
Kobe Bryant’s All-Star Game debut against Michael Jordan
In just his third season in the league, Bryant earned his first of his 18 All-Star Game selections, which put him in the limelight against his idol Michael Jordan.
He may have been voted as the youngest All-Star selection in NBA history, but he displayed the confidence of a proven star. Bryant took up the challenge that saw him lead his team with 18 points. That saw him throw down an impressive 360 dunk in transition along with a two-handed slam after an alley-oop lob from Kevin Garnett.
It may have just been Bryant’s first trip to the All-Star Game, but he made a notable impression that he was just scratching the surface and going to sticking around for years to come.
MVP in hometown
Throughout much of his early career, Bryant wasn’t well-received in his hometown of Philadephia whenever he made the trip with the Lakers to take on the 76ers.
However, he put that all behind him in the 2002 All-Star Game in the city he spent his childhood. Bryant used that as motivation as he recorded a game-high 31 points, five assists, and five rebounds that earned him his first All-Star Game MVP award by leading the West to a double-digit win.
His stellar performance came less than a year after he helped guide the Lakers past the 76ers in five games in the 2001 NBA Finals to claim his second straight championship. It helped further set the stage for his tremendous impact in the annual event.
Flashback with Shaq
For the first time since the 2003-04 season, Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal graced the court together on the same team.
It brought back plenty of old memories as the two picked up where they left off with their chemistry. O’Neal may have been on the backend of his career, but he proved to be more than serviceable in the contest.
Bryant headed the charge offensively with 27 points while O’Neal had 17 points off the bench that earned them co-MVPs for the game. It was a night that brushed aside all the chatter of tension between them, with the attention shared success together on the court.
That was another much-needed moment in both of their respective careers that will forever be tied together from their three straight NBA titles together.