Kobe Bryant gets last laugh on Michael Jordan in 2003 All-Star Game

Kobe Bryant
(Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE)

Kobe Bryant and Michael Jordan will forever have All-Star ties. Bryant’s first start in 1998 was against His Airness and he made his presence felt. Jordan’s last one was against a much-improved Bryant. Nowadays, you will see guys compete just like two of the best in this yearly exhibition of talents. Sunday’s NBA All-Star game came to an entertaining conclusion with Team LeBron taking down Team Durant, 170-150.

The league had to put together the game on the fly amidst the Coronavirus pandemic. While met with much contention, the players were all able to get through, with the exception of Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid.

The Scene Is Set In 2003

Atlanta was an interesting choice given its reputation as a hub of entertainment. The last time the league centered its festivities in the heart of Georiga, it was nothing short of star-studded. Philips Arena was packed with 20,325 fans in the 2003 All-Star Game. The legendary Mariah Carey sang the National Anthem to get things started, as the game was all a sendoff for the G.O.A.T.

Is it a Jordan game without the dramatics? It was all in the cards for the game to be on the line down the stretch. As the final quarter dwindled down, the ball appropriately found MJ. He takes his defender into the post and launches his patented fadeaway. Yell at me if you’ve heard this before?

Not much time later, Bryant directed his own dramatic scene. He made sure the ball was in his hands on the other side with a chance to win.

Two Kings

If there is one thing that Kobe and Michael shared, it’s no edge given. As a matter of fact, it’s no f%cks given by either two. They didn’t care if it was your opening or closing night, you weren’t allowed to leave in glory. I don’t think anyone expected anybody, let alone Kobe freaking Bryant, to let Jordan go out in a blaze.

A picture-esque moment was ruined, but the balance was restored. Bryant led the Western Conference to a 155-145 win. Jordan left the league in amazing hands. You had the likes of Allen Iverson, Kevin Garnett, and many more carrying the torch forward. Bryant followed Jordan’s footsteps with a few NBA titles and tons of other accolades. Despite the bittersweet ending, we all still won in the end. We got the chance to see excellent and competitive basketball.

It’s the only time that Jordan and Kobe would agree on everyone walking away as a  winner.

Leave a Reply