Legendary Moments in NBA History
Legendary Moments in NBA History: Kobe Bryant claims first All-Star Game MVP trophy
Jeff Case, NBA.com
Kobe Bryant amassed 33,643 points in his 20 NBA seasons as he forged a future Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame career. He also made 18 All-Star teams, scoring 290 points in those games and claiming four All-Star Game MVP awards in his former hometown.
The first of those All-Star MVPs came in 2002, when Bryant put on a show in what was his fourth career appearance in the game. He finished with 31 points, 23 of which came in the first half off 9-for-16 shooting. In the process, he also became the first player since Michael Jordan in 1993 to score 30 points in an All-Star Game.
Bryant rose to prominence as a prep basketball standout at Lower Merion High School in Philadelphia. Bryant’s father, Joe, was a solid role player for the Philadelphia 76ers in the 1970s and, after his playing days were over, Joe Bryant settled his family in Philly.
But the fans in attendance weren’t exactly warm toward Bryant, booing him often throughout the game and, in particular, when he claimed the All-Star Game MVP after the West’s 135-120 win.
“I’m happy to win MVP in Philadelphia, and the booing was just hurtful. But it’s not going to ruin this day for me,” Bryant said.