February 26, 2012
Los Angeles Lakers superstar Kobe Bryant has played in 14 All-Star games in his career, enough to put him at third place (in a tie) on the all-time list behind Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and former teammate Shaquille O'Neal. As one of the best scorers in NBA history, he's had his fair share of big All-Star game performances, too, winning four MVPs.
So, during Sunday night's contest, Bryant reached a milestone that before the game seemed like a foregone conclusion. With five minutes remaining in the third quarter, Kobe took a pass on a fast break and finished with an easy two-hand slam, putting him past Michael Jordan on the all-time All-Star game scoring list with 263 points. In at least one aspect, Kobe has overtaken the player on whom he seems to have modeled his entire career.
[ Related: Bryant, West hold on to win NBA All-Star game ]
It was a deserved honor, and yet one that was almost overshadowed by a late mistake. With 18 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter, Bryant split a pair of free throws to give the East a chance to win the game with a 3-pointer. They couldn't execute, though, with Deron Williams missing an open 3-pointer and LeBron James throwing an errant pass after an offensive rebound. They had a desperation attempt with a second left to send the game to overtime, as well, but Dwyane Wade couldn't make the off-balance 3-pointer to give the West a 152-149 victory.
As that final score suggests, it was an entertaining game, with seven players scoring 20 or more points, a comeback from the East after the West had controlled most of the game, and the usual mix of exciting dunks and lighthearted goofing-off. While the entire weekend might be seen as a disappointment, especially considering Saturday's lackluster dunk contest, the All-Star game itself served as a quality ending.
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