For a while it appeared all but certain that Kobe would be named MVP of the game on his home court at the Staples Center. The Los Angeles Lakers star had 37 points midway through the fourth quarter and appeared to be on his way to setting Wilt Chamberlin's all-time game scoring record of 42. He and the West All-Stars were cruising in the game with a double-digit lead.
Then LeBron went into another gear and began playing the All-Star game like it was a playoff game (any playoff game besides Game 5 of the 2010 conference finals, that is). The Miami Heat star took over the game in an awe-inspiring display that cut a double-digit deficit to two points. He earned the second-ever All-Star triple double in the process, finishing the game with 29 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists (Michael Jordan had the other). It wasn't enough, though, and the West held on for a 148-143 win.
By Monday afternoon, all of that will be forgotten. The highlights will live on, none more than this clip, which typified Sunday night's battle between the game's two greatest players.
A stunning sight, indeed. (Not the dunk, the fact that a player in the All-Star game put so much effort into getting back on defense.) Kobe dunks on LeBron and then gives his younger counterpart a little pat on the rear. If butt-taps were worth a thousand words, Kobe's would have said, "You may call yourself the King, but it's still my throne."
Bryant finished with 37 points and 14 rebounds, both game highs, in his MVP performance.