By Joshua Schnitman
When 23-year-old Kobe Bryant had an opportunity to play in an All-Star game in
Philadelphia, the city where he had a stellar high school career, the young Los Angeles Laker sensation did not shy away from the spotlight. He became the first player (since Michael Jordan in 1993) to score 30+ points in an All-Star game. His 31 points (on 12/25 shooting from the field) helped lead the West squad to a 135-120 victory.
This performance marked Bryant’s very first of an eventual four NBA All-Star Game MVP trophies throughout his career (a feat that only Bob Pettit has also achieved). The All-Star Game MVP award has since been renamed (as of 2020): The NBA All-Star Game Kobe Bryant Most Valuable Player. Bryant, throughout his 20-year career, has the second most All-Star Game selections of any player throughout history (18), behind only Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (19). Bryant has also scored the second most total points in NBA All-Star Game history (290), behind only LeBron James (385).
The basketball world continues to deeply miss Kobe Bryant, one of the greatest athletes of all-time, who played all 20 of his NBA seasons for none other than the Los Angeles Lakers.