Kobe Bryant. The Black Mamba. He was a perennial all-star and always seemed to rise to the occasion on the big stage. I've always thought of this dunk as the dunk that 'started it all' for Bryant in the All-Star Game.
Kobe Bryant All-Star Game MVP Trophy
Today, the NBA unveiled the new All-Star game trophy, called the "Kobe Bryant All-Star Game MVP Trophy." Check it out.
Why Name It After Bryant?
"Kobe Bryant was an 18-time NBA All-Star, tied for second-most all-time. He made the roster in 1998 and then every season between 2000 and 2016 – though he missed the 2010, 2014, and 2015 games. He was named All-Star MVP a record four times in 2002, 2007, 2009, and 2011."
Bryant scored 290 points in All-Star games throughout his career. Only LeBron James has more, passing him after Bryant's retirement. Kobe at the NBA All-Star game was just something you recognized as a certainty. In the wake of his tragic passing two years ago, this seems like a perfect way to honor the legacy of Kobe Bryant.
The trophy’s measurements and designs are all to honor and remember Bryant's various accomplishments throughout his 20-year career. For example, the base dimension has 18 stars to recognize his All-Star selections and an eight-sided base for the No. 8 jersey he wore.
Favorite Kobe Bryant All-Star Game: 2011
My favorite All-Star game of Kobe Bryant's is the 2011 All-Star game. This was the turning point in Mamba's career.
The jokes and comments about his age and utility were being made (to be fair, Bryant's injuries and overall wear and tear were starting to show in his athleticism) and Father Time is undefeated.
The game was held in Los Angeles, so Bryant winning the All-Star game MVP felt a little too storybook to actually happen. Kobe didn't seem to care. He was putting up jumpers and showing that his athleticism was still burning in the tank. This first clip isn't great quality, but Bryant showed that his first step was still quick enough to blow past Derrick Rose for the reverse dunk. Special points if you can watch closely at how well he uses his foot for placement on the jab step.
Then there is the one this game is most well-known for.
There is nobody in the NBA better than James at those chase-down blocks. Bryant had the presence of mind to know that he wasn't going to get higher than James on a block, so he flushed it as quickly as possible. The 'pat on the butt' is the classic Michael Jordan move.
If you want to see the full highlights of Bryant's All-Star 2011 performance, click here. Bryant finished the game with 37 points (21 in the first half) and 14 rebounds to collect his fourth All-Star game MVP. The Western Conference defeated the Eastern Conference 148-143.
Bryant and James's friendly All-Star game rivalry really came to a head in 2013. Bryant did not focus his energy on offense, but he played lockdown defense on James throughout the game, including at the end.
This award being named after Bryant is yet another way that the late NBA legend's name will never be forgotten.