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Thursday, February 13, 2020

Kobe Bryant All-Star Weekend Picture Gallery

"It's about having fun, but the fun is in the competition." Kobe Bryant, describing the NBA All-Star Game

NBA All-Star Weekend is set to begin in Chicago, returning to the Windy City for the first time since 1988. The 1980s was the golden age for the event, when all-time greats like Julius Erving, Magic Johnson, Isiah Thomas, and Michael Jordan not only put on a show but also showcased their skills/competitive greatness.

I enjoyed the privilege of covering each NBA All-Star Weekend from 2005-10, gathering precious memories and stories. Kobe Bryant was selected as an All-Star during each of those seasons, but due to injuries he only made a cameo appearance in 2008, and he did not play in 2010. However, during that six year span he also won two of his four All-Star Game MVPs. Bob Pettit is the only other four-time NBA All-Star Game MVP. Bryant was selected as an All-Star 18 times overall, second all-time behind only Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (19).

Here are some pictures that I took of Bryant at various All-Star Weekends.
2005 Western Conference All-Star Practice

2007 All-Star Game Running the Offense
2007 All-Star Game On Court Interview with Ernie Johnson
2007 All-Star Game MVP Press Conference
2009 All-Star Game Introduction

2009 All-Star Game Co-MVPs: Shaq and Kobe

During the postgame press conference for the 2009 All-Star Game, I asked West Coach Phil Jackson to share his thoughts about Shaquille O'Neal and Kobe Bryant evolving from their rivalry as Lakers' teammates just a few years earlier to sharing the All-Star MVP while enjoying each other's company. Jackson gave a very thoughtful reply: 
I think it is a great life lesson for people. This is something that the people work together, people find a way to get through situations, find harmony in their life, find co-habitation. I hope this speaks volumes not just for our community in basketball but our world community too and I like the idea that we even brought that to the All-Star Game and brought the international flavor in. Basketball is a thing that is a game. It is played as a game but it is serious business to these players and it is wonderful to see them have fun at it in a game like this. Now it is great to get back to the business of finishing this season off. 

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posted by David Friedman @ 7:34 PM



At Friday, February 14, 2020 11:49:00 PM, Blogger Tristan said...


Kobe Bryant and (now) Russell Westbrook showed, in their respective All Star MVP outings, the importance of competing hard even during the All-Star Game, the once-showcase event that has devolved into a video game-like farce.

The great Mr. Bob Pettit, Kobe, and Westbrook: past and future Hall-of-Famers, multiple All-Star MVP winners, league MVPs, and historically underrated / unappreciated.

I find the contrast between Kobe's 4 ASG MVPs and LeBron's 4 league MVPs to be amusing and ironic. Kobe, the game's ultimate competitor, won his best player awards for a game that--more deservedly now--is branded as a meaningless exhibition, while "chill mode" LeBron won his best player awards for the regular season, which has been unfortunately derided as meaningless compared to the playoffs.

In their tributes / retrospectives on Kobe, the mainstream media has mostly overlooked (intentionally or not) the reason for Kobe's appeal and impact to fans worldwide: He really was the BEST player, and most charismatic / electrifying figure in the game. The talking heads rave about his competitive fire and legendary work ethic, but can't seem to acknowledge the output of those two traits--that he became the best player on the planet, for a good decade of his career.

Thank you for your objective and fair take on Kobe throughout the years, and also for this pleasant trip down memory lane.

At Sunday, February 16, 2020 1:43:00 PM, Blogger David Friedman said...


You're welcome.

I agree that a big part of Kobe's appeal to fans is that he was the best player in the game for an extended period of time, but--even more than that--I believe that it was Magic Johnson who said that Kobe never cheated the game. You could never sincerely question Kobe's preparation, effort and work ethic. Those qualities are admirable and rare.

At Sunday, February 16, 2020 6:38:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Kobe was a very gifted basketball player, who worked extremely hard and accomplished a lot in the NBA


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