This Day In Lakers History: Kobe Bryant Competes In Final All-Star Game Alongside LeBron James & Other NBA Stars
Kobe Bryant in an All-Star Game
Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports/File Photo

The late, great Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant was known for a lot of things throughout his NBA career, but one stage in which he dominated was at the annual NBA All-Star Game.

Always a competitor, even in games that were supposed to be exhibitions, Kobe was always a force in these contests, winning MVP honors four times in 2002, 2007, 2009 and 2011. But on Sunday, February 14 2016 at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Bryant would appear in his 18th and final NBA All-Star Game.

By this point, Kobe had already announced that the season would be his final one so the game was as much a celebration of him as it was a contest, especially as the West would win the game handily by 23 points. But despite all the attention being on him, Kobe himself took a backseat.

The Lakers legend finished with just 10 points on 4-of-11 shooting from the field. While he played the second-most minutes on the team, he tied for the seventh-most shot attempts. Bryant also added six rebounds and seven assists on the night, the second-most on the team behind Chris Paul’s 16.

There were also some great moments shared between Kobe and LeBron James, who was still a member of the Cleveland Cavaliers at that point. A little one-on-one battle between the two took place during the game and LeBron joked about Kobe trying to dunk on him afterward as well, via SportsCenter:

By this time, LeBron and Kobe had developed a good relationship thanks in large part to their time together with Team USA. The duo teamed up in both 2008 and 2012 to bring home gold medals and grew a strong bond with each other during that time.

Former Lakers point guard Russell Westbrook would take home MVP honors on the night, finishing with 31 points, eight rebounds, five assists and five steals. Continuing with the Southern California theme, Paul George was the leading scorer on the night finishing with 41 points and hitting nine 3-pointers.

Of course, Bryant will forever remain linked to the All-Star Game as the MVP Award has since been named after him following his tragic passing in 2020. Kobe is one of just two players in NBA history to win the All-Star Game MVP award four times along with Bob Pettit of the St. Louis Hawks. Since the award was named after Kobe, the three winners have been Kawhi Leonard, Giannis Antetokounmpo and Stephen Curry.

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