With so many years in the league, it’s hard to remember all the great moments that Kobe Bryant has had on the NBA hardwood. One game that sticks out from memory was the 2002 All-Star game held in his hometown of Philadelphia.
It wasn’t much of a homecoming for the Mamba though, as the fans were still hurting from the Lakers victory over the 76ers during the 2001 NBA Finals. It was easy for them to curse and boo Kobe and put their efforts behind Allen Iverson. But A.I. struggled from the floor that night and never got it going.
For the game Bryant would be laced up in his signature adidas The Kobe II, just like he wore during the pre All-Star festivities (see below). During the game, the sneakers weren’t the focus but were featured in plenty of replays throughout the night. Kobe was hot that night, shooting from all over the floor. He posted up, hit fadeaways, dropped dimes and was active every time he was on the floor. Maybe the chorus of boos was the motivation for him to have a big game as the jeers were certainly on his mind.
There was no love lost in Philly that night. Kobe would go on to finish the game with 31 points, shooting perfect from the charity stripe, dishing five dimes and grabbing five boards. A lot of focus was on A.I. and the return of Jordan to the All-Star game, but Kobe’s play made sure he was the headliner by the end of the weekend.