Since he made the announcement, it’s been a gradual sinking in that this will be Kobe’s last year. A tribute video here, a road crowd chanting his name there, and a whole lot of post game pressers with introspective questions and candid answers have followed and the realization that this is it becomes realer daily. This will be Kobe’s last season.
Today will be his last All-Star game. What a run it has been.
Your @KobeBryant Primer for Sunday: The ULTIMATE @KobeBryant NBA ALL-STAR #NBAMixtape! (via @NBAAllStar) https://t.co/olzThMm56Z
— NBA History (@NBAHistory) February 12, 2016
I won’t pretend I know what to say here. Kobe has been named an All-Star 18 times. He is a mainstay here, named a starter every year there’s been a game since 1998; named a starter even when he wasn’t a starter on his own team. And every year he has been healthy enough to participate, he has come to put on a show for the fans, bringing a level of entertainment and competitiveness that has meant something. To the fans. To his peers.
Today marks the closing of an era, at least in terms of this contest. But, the game is in great hands. From Steph to LeBron, KD to Anthony Davis, Russ to Chris Paul, Paul George to James Harden. The game’s best are as good as ever, as entertaining as ever. Just because this will be the last time Kobe is here doesn’t mean it’s the last time his influence will be felt. As he has noted over this celebratory weekend, some of the guys in this game weren’t even 5 years old when Kobe made his ASG debut in 1998. Some of these guys grew up watching him. In fact, most of them did.
Today, several of them will want to watch him one last time. Even while on the floor with him. But Kobe wants that about as much as he wants another season of his body aching so badly he struggles to walk to his car. No, like Kobe went after Michael Jordan in 1998 he wants these guys competing against him, taking it to him, tonight. If they make him look old and silly, so be it. Father time, you know.
So today, with a heaping serving of nostalgia, we celebrate Kobe one more time. Yes, there are still 27 games left in his regular season, but this is the last time we will see him with the best of the best. A group he has been a part of, no, at the top of, for most of his 20 year career. With that, enjoy the game, folks.
Where you can watch: 5:30pm start time on TNT.
I remember doing a project in 6th grade (all the way back in 1998) where i basically made a scrapbook of all the NBA All-Stars with a focus on Kobe and MJ and talking in my presentation about how they went back and forth at each other in that game. Hard to believe that was 18 years ago. Gonna be tough to watch my childhood idol play in his last All Star game (where he LOVED to dominate the best of the best). Hope they force him to gun for MVP!
Kobe Alert: While there is “some” debate as to where Kobe ranks in the overall GOAT conversation, there is no doubt that Kobe is the GOAT with regard to the All Star Game. KB has been named to his 18th ASG which is second only to Kareem. He has been named as a starter for the 18th time which is the most all time. At tip off he will have physically started his 15th game, which is 1st all time (he missed 3 due to injury), and the 15th game of any kind will put him into a tie with Tim Duncan for 2nd behind KAJ. At tip off Kobe will also break a tie with Wilt for 2nd all time in minutes (too far behind for 1st which is again – KAJ). Kobe is tied all time with Bob Pettit with 4 ASG MVPs. The Bean needs 7 FGs to move by MJ for most field goals all time. The Greatest Laker needs two 3 pointers to move by Ray Allen for 2nd all time (LBJ first). Just 1 steal will put Kobe into 1st all time (currently tied with MJ). Kobe is 10th in all time dimes, 8th in offensive rebounds, 13th in defensive rebounds, tied for 18th in blocked shots, and tied for 17th in free throws. For those who do not like Kobe, you can root for at least 7 FG attempts as that will give him the most all time ! Of course he is the leading scorer in ASG history so I am not sure what the point would be there ! The ASG is of course a popularity contest, but please remember that Kobe has been named to the All NBA Team 15 times which is the most all time (the All NBA team is probably the most accurate award team in pro sports). He has also been top 5 in the MVP voting 11 times which is second only to KAJ’s 15 (this is in spite of Kobe’s polarizing persona). So – yes – he is 3rd in the GOAT conversation. I never saw any “objective” arguments against this – just a few general opinions. Again I have him behind KAJ and MJ. No need to argue on Magic, Duncan, or LBJ (future), as I can see the points there. Wilt, Russell, and Mikan all revolve around the peach basket issue (remember they are either all out or Mikan must be in). Anyone else I will vehemently argue against and that includes Bird, Hakeem, etc. Let’s discuss next week. Even a complete hater can’t have him out of the top 10. In any case, I am not sure anyone can disagree that at this point, he is 1st in the ASG convo. In other words – Kobe Rules !
if Mikan is out, then Wilt is too?
ok. it makes no sense to me, but ok.
yes, Kobe is one of the all-time greats. he’s as great as any of them(my vote’s for Wilt), you can pick who you like best. after a point, great is great. i’m so fortunate to have had Kobe on the team that i root for. i wouldn’t have traded him for anyone who played during his time in the NBA.
Robert, thanks for a fine ASG summary.
For what my opinion is worth (not a lot) I additionally agree with you on the first two GOAT slots – it’s KAJ and MJ in that order. And yes, one would have to be quite a hater to drop Kobe below #10 of all time. This even though reasonable people can disagree.
I smell another ASGMVP if the West wins, just watch…
For whatever my opinion is worth, my top 10 all time is:
Then Oscar, Logo, Hakeem, Moses & Dr. J
J C says
Those five guys in their prime together would beat anybody.
Reluctant and surprised tears shed as Kobe says goodbye on the biggest stage of all.
He will surely be missed.
We don’t feel it yet.
I hope the Laker youth is ready.
Love him or otherwise, Kobe’s shoes are big ones to fill.
– Ok Rob, gotcha. Only haters rank Kob outside the top 10.
– Halftime show was garbage. Target market was missed.
– Shaq doesn’t need to judge another dunk contest, nothing but straight 10’s w/ Gordon & Zack. Best dunk contest ever…yes better than MJ vs “Nique, better than Vince vs everyone else.
ASG: Nice send off for Kobes. However, I do not like how this game has gone the route of the Pro Bowl. During the Magic era – this game was electric and that is a distant memory.
BCS: Please present your case. My views are clear and so are yours. Please make a case for someone like Bird or Hakeem (or similar) to be ahead of Kobe. I already did Hakeem. Trust me Bird comparisons are a little one sided.
R: Yes – we are in sync – I give the nod to MJ – but the 15 times in the top 5 for MVP voting is a huge fact in favor of Kareem. Either way – they are clearly the two GOATs.
Sald0gg: Nice – I can live with your list. Except of course for the Russell, Wilt, Mikan thing : ) Part of the Mikan thing is the Laker’s own fault. We should have separate banners for those five titles and have separate banners for the retired Minny numbers. What is up with this consolidated stuff (and we barely did that)? Let’s ask the Celtics to do the same shall we? Perhaps they should have 5 banners total. Four for their post 1980 titles and one banner that says “we were dominant in the same way Yale ruled the NCAA once”.
Season: There are 27 more games. The themes are A) The completion of the Kobe send off B) Tanking C) Byron bashing D) Sibling Rivalry E) Arguing over whether Russell is a bust or a savior, when the truth probably is in the middle. I can hardly wait : )
Yeah i remember when guys actually played defense and the game had some meaning of pride for guys … have a friend that spent like a months rent to get a ticket … Why? game itself is such a joke
Chris J says
Halftime show was garbage. Target market was missed.
Truer words you’ve never typed. I saw Sting come on and said to my wife, “Really? A 60-something white grandpa playing songs from 30 years ago? That’s what they put on the All-Star game?” I bet the NFL Super Bowl halftime producers were involved, the same guys who believe The Little River Band is “big with the kids these days.”
Why waste Drake clapping for the starters? He would have blown the roof off as a halftime act.
Lil pau says
Heh heh, Little River Band…
Adam Silver must love Sting.