With NBA All-Star Weekend in progress, Kobe Bryant will make his 18th and final appearance for the Western Conference on Sunday. Since the five-time champion has played through multiple eras from Michael Jordan to Stephen Curry, his peers have talked about how much he has impacted the game of basketball.
One of his peers is Isaiah Thomas of the Boston Celtics, who will be making his first All-Star appearance and is a long-time Lakers fan. With Thomas only being nine years old when Bryant made his first appearance in New York, he had the following to say via Lakers.com:
Some #KobeBryant praise from a Celtic: Isaiah Thomas calls the Mamba "the greatest player of my generation."
— Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) February 13, 2016
At this stage of Bryant’s career, most of these All-Star players grew up watching him during his prime years. As a result, it is a credit to Bryant’s longevity as he set a new NBA record for most seasons played for one franchise against the Minnesota Timberwolves, surpassing John Stockton of the Utah Jazz.
While Bryant expressed only wanting to play 10 minutes in his final All-Star Game, he will be celebrated by the NBA and his peers on Sunday. After All-Star Weekend is complete, Bryant and the Lakers will have 27 games remaining in the season.
With the Lakers missing the playoffs for the third consecutive season, the top priorities will be keeping Bryant relatively healthy and developing the young core of D’Angelo Russell, Julius Randle and Jordan Clarkson.