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Kobe Bryant shows veteran's perspective on the NBA All-Star game

There's usually a protocol in these games when the Lakers need a game-winning basket.

Call timeout. Draw a play that will get Kobe Bryant open. And let the Black Mamba take care of the rest. The same logic could apply to the NBA All-Star game. But there was one slight problem when the Western Conference trailed by two and needed a game-winning basket to secure the 2010 NBA All-Star game.

Bryant wasn't there.

He sat out an All-Star game for the first time because of a sprained left ankle, a decision that he delayed as long as possible. That's why when he saw Carmelo Anthony miss the potential game winner, it pained him both from a friendship standpoint and from a team perspective as he sat on the sideline at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas.

A year later, Bryant will make his 12th All-Star appearance and he's waxing nostalgic, recalling when in 1998 he became the youngest NBA player, at 19, to be voted in as a starter for the All-Star game.

The reason for the nostalgia: He missed last season's game.

"Oh yeah, it becomes a little bit more special," Bryant said. "I don't know how much longer I'll be playing for it. For a player to have an All-Star game in his hometown twice, it's pretty cool and pretty neat."

That game in 2004 entailed much different circumstances. All week, reports emerged of problems with Bryant and Lakers Coach Phil Jackson, Bryant and the Lakers and Bryant and Shaquille O'Neal. Then, Bryant arrived 30 minutes late to Staples Center and missed the team photo, apparently because of  traffic. The West's 136-132 win over the East featured Shaq (24 points, 11 rebounds) and Bryant (20 points, four rebounds, four assists, two steals) coexisting despite any problems earlier in the week.

This year, Bryant and Pau Gasol will play side by side and expressed giddiness over the possibility of playing together after Bryant's injury prevented it last year. The game in 1998 featured Bryant guarding All-Star MVP Michael Jordan and leading the West with 18 points, six rebounds and two steals despite missing the entire fourth quarter, an intriguing plot line that showcased Bryant, presumed to be the new torchbearer of the league.

Prior to the 2011 game, Bryant showed how his influence affected other players. He pulled aside Blake Griffin and gave him advice on the dunk contest. He chatted with Anthony, who's credited Bryant for mentoring him during the uncertainty regarding his playing future. And he declined to attempt to break the Guinness Book of World Records mark for three-point shots made by a duo, allowing Kevin Durant and Dirk Nowitzki instead to break the mark set moments earlier by Paul Pierce and Ray Allen.

"It's not really my concern," Bryant said with a chuckle.

There were other things he's not stressing about either. He acknowledged All-Star games have a more "relaxed environment" than regular-season games. He insisted he's flexible about being a scorer, such as when his 31 points in the 2000 All-Star game earned him his first All-Star MVP, or a facilitator, such as when he passed the ball to Tim Duncan for a failed game-winning attempt in the 2001 All-Star game. And he didn't worry about how the roles would shape.

But here's something that will be a concern -- being able to play in a game that he missed last season.

"I'm sure if the game comes to a point where the West needs a game-winning shot," Gasol said, "I'm sure he'll step up and take it. "What better scenario than doing it at Staples Center here in L.A."

--Mark Medina

Twitter.com/latmedina

E-mail the Lakers blog at mgmedin@gmail.com

 
Comments () | Archives (18)

The comments to this entry are closed.

@JAMF - I'll make it up to you somehow.

Hey I asked about doing a live chat and the powers that be prefer that I help out with some of the game coverage since there's going to be some of our sister papers (Chicago Tribune, Orlando Sentinel, etc) needing content as well

Um, me too? :P Just kidding, thanks for trying MM. We appreciate all that you do.

MM - I'm holding you to that!

About a live chat - I'd suggest putting one up and leaving us to our own devices, but the troll situation has been intolerable.....

Anyone who wants to chat - come to the RC. We'll be there. I'll check here to see if anyone's asking for the link and I'll give it to them.

MM - have fun! Take pictures! Get interviews!

Hey,

Just watched the All-Star 3-point shooting contest.

Ray Allen and Paul Pierce both made the finals and then lost. I guess they're practicing up for June.


@HOBBITMAGE… You’re right, I want my grandson and team to play harder and hustle more than other players. “Go all out” is my personal rallying call for him as well as the entire team. Then again, we play a “grueling” 8 game season with a max 4-game playoffs. Still, we have our highs and lows.

The NBA regular season is so long that now it can only be viewed as a series of mini-seasons the final results of which end up getting lost in translation. It’s all about selling tickets and attracting viewers. If the owners had it their way, they’d play a 102-game schedule. It ain’t baseball but the more games you play, the less important any single game becomes. That’s why we call it the practice season.

I understand your point and agree that playing hard and hustling applies at both ends of the court but bottom line, you need to play the game the right way, which for the Lakers is to share and protect the ball and play inside-out basketball on offense and control the paint and the boards on defense. Sometimes we lost ‘cause we didn’t play hard enough but other times we didn’t play smart enough.

Excellent points in defense of Kobe, too. As the team leader, Kobe is taking his share of hits right now, as he should be since the team is playing poorly. We’ll see what all the naysayers and doubters have to say come June, when Kobe win’s his 6th ring to tie Jordan and second 3-peat. Which brings us to the point of the obnoxiously clever and smug attacks on Kobe Bryant by Sonny Belfast.

Familiarity with trolls is no substitute for treating them like family. Sonny Belfast at best is nothing more than the family dog, that means you don’t kick him in the balls or leave him outside in the rain but also that you don’t invite him to sit at the family dinner table or give him his own special roll call. Wake up, you idiots, he’s a freaking troll. Next you’ll be petitioning MM to award him a Friedman.

I’m all for phred’s campaign for love of Lakers and fellow bloggers but it effing don’t apply to trolls. Sonny Belfast is a spiteful Laker-hating, anti-Kobe ex-pat American living in Thailand who’s carved his own 15 seconds of blog fame with his homophobic taunts against LA and constant attacks against Kobe Bryant. Do I have to ask those who forget those things and are kissing his ass how it tastes?
……………………………..
TOM


@HOBBITMAGE… You’re right, I want my grandson and team to play harder and hustle more than other players. “Go all out” is my personal rallying call for him as well as the entire team. Then again, we play a “grueling” 8 game season with a max 4-game playoffs. Still, we have our highs and lows.

The NBA regular season is so long that now it can only be viewed as a series of mini-seasons the final results of which end up getting lost in translation. It’s all about selling tickets and attracting viewers. If the owners had it their way, they’d play a 102-game schedule. It ain’t baseball but the more games you play, the less important any single game becomes. That’s why we call it the practice season.

I understand your point and agree that playing hard and hustling applies at both ends of the court but bottom line, you need to play the game the right way, which for the Lakers is to share and protect the ball and play inside-out basketball on offense and control the paint and the boards on defense. Sometimes we lost ‘cause we didn’t play hard enough but other times we didn’t play smart enough.

Excellent points in defense of Kobe, too. As the team leader, Kobe is taking his share of hits right now, as he should be since the team is playing poorly. We’ll see what all the naysayers and doubters have to say come June, when Kobe win’s his 6th ring to tie Jordan and second 3-peat. Which brings us to the point of the obnoxiously clever and smug attacks on Kobe Bryant by Sonny Belfast.

Familiarity with trolls is no substitute for treating them like family. Sonny Belfast at best is nothing more than the family dog, that means you don’t kick him in the balls or leave him outside in the rain but also that you don’t invite him to sit at the family dinner table or give him his own special roll call. Wake up, you idiots, he’s a freaking troll. Next you’ll be petitioning MM to award him a Friedman.

I’m all for phred’s campaign for love of Lakers and fellow bloggers but it effing don’t apply to trolls. Sonny Belfast is a spiteful Laker-hating, anti-Kobe ex-pat American living in Thailand who’s carved his own 15 seconds of blog fame with his homophobic taunts against LA and constant attacks against Kobe Bryant. Do I have to ask those who forget those things and are kissing his ass how it tastes?
……………………………..
TOM

Not really interested in this weekend, guys. The last week has been so draining with the losses, the turmoil, and the rain. However, seeing The Logo finally get his was terrific. I'm curious to see how much PT Kobe will get tomorrow since it is HIS home floor, yet he's pretty indifferent about the game itself. I am also curious about Pop giving TD the start over Pau, given TD's stats and Pau being the homecourt "center" on the team. It's all who you know, apparently. I hope Kobe gets some tick in the 4th, because we all know if the game's on the line, who should get the rock, right?

Anyway, we all need to take a collective DEEP breath this weekend and radiate positive vibes for the boys to feed off of. The back end of the season is upon us, and it's going to be the toughest finish yet.

PEACE.

DBDH!

Paused the Slam Dunk to say IBAKA GOT ROBBED!

Dr. J was in front of the free-throw line!
Jordan didn't leave behind the line!
Brent Barry either!
Not sure who else tried it, but Ibaka was the FIRST to leave behind the line and complete it!
He absolutely deserved a 50!

- - -

LakerTom: What has this blog come to when we are praising the biggest hating, spiteful troll on here!

GIMME A FREAKIN' BREAK! I speak to you because you are the ONLY ONE who sees a spade for what it is! AMEN!

Unbelievable what we've come to, but the fact is despite how 'frequent' this troll posts - HE IS AS HATEFUL AS THEY COME AND SOMEONE NOT WORTH A LICK OF PRAISE!

Get outta here! GOOD GOD, WHAT ARE WE BECOMING? What next, a 'we love 131' train?


AS ALWAYS - AND FOREVER - GO LAKERS!!!!!!

SORRY but THIS Laker fan will NEVER, *NEVER* COWER IN THE FACE OF A TROLL! I'm with you LakerTom, as USUAL!

Sheesh!

LakerTom - SNAP.

LakerTom = Flaming spiked wrecking ball armed with a nuclear warhead shot out of a cannon by the Incredible Hulk with a migraine on steroids after having a long commute on the 405 on Friday afternoon.

Sonny Belfast, LakerTom sunk your battleship.

Sonny, you ARE the weakest link, goodbye!

Sonny, you got served!

Sonny, you got KTFO!

Sonny, (The Price Is Right "too bad, you lost" music).


DBDH!

Yeah Ibaka got robbed. Dunking behind the FT line should be an automatic 50. I think he got Dr J mad by one-upping him.

The first round dunks were better than the second. Blake's "over the car" thing was mostly props-driven. McGee should have saved the two-dunks at once thing for the final round, though since it's popular voting probably Blake had the win in the bag as soon as he advanced.

Great contest though!

http://abcnews.go.com/Sports/wireStory?id=12956731&page=2

Looks like 'Melo might be on his way to the Nets...


AS ALWAYS - AND FOREVER - GO LAKERS!!!!!!

Familiarity with trolls is no substitute for treating them like family. Sonny Belfast at best is nothing more than the family dog, that means you don’t kick him in the balls or leave him outside in the rain but also that you don’t invite him to sit at the family dinner table or give him his own special roll call. Wake up, you idiots, he’s a freaking troll. Next you’ll be petitioning MM to award him a Friedman.

I’m all for phred’s campaign for love of Lakers and fellow bloggers but it effing don’t apply to trolls. Sonny Belfast is a spiteful Laker-hating, anti-Kobe ex-pat American living in Thailand who’s carved his own 15 seconds of blog fame with his homophobic taunts against LA and constant attacks against Kobe Bryant. Do I have to ask those who forget those things and are kissing his ass how it tastes?
……………………………..
TOM

Posted by: LakerTom | February 19, 2011 at 07:18 PM

If this doesn't deserve the RCOTD, I don't know what does. Well done.

great article over on Chasing 23 about the greatest All-star performances ever: http://chasing23.com/2011/02/the-10-greatest-nba-all-star-game-performances-ever/ I miss Magic :(

TO THE LAKER NATION IN REGARDS TO THE SONNY BELFAST BANDWAGON
*
SORRY but THIS Laker Fan will NEVER,*NEVER* COWER IN THE FACE OF A TROLL OR ANOTHER LAKERFAN EITHER!! I been around here a long time - not since the beginning but a LONGGGGGG TIME - and I've fought in a lot of Troll Wars, too many to name. Because of my high Profile with the Roll Call I am one of the main ones Along with LakerTom, Justanothermambafan, Edwin and a few others to be attacked the most. Yet if a "Troll" submits a post that is good I will acknowledge it. I would not consider Sonny Belfast a "Troll". There are so called Laker fans on this Blog who have much said harsher things about the Lakers and Laker fans in general than him. I can't say I know Sonny that well , but he has been on this Blog from the beginning and even welcomed me aboard and gave me a few tips now and then. I consider the man a friend and I knew him before I knew most of you.

I say all of this to say, if my little Bandwagon for Sonny - which was kind of tongue-in-cheek - offended anybody...I apologize. At the same time, would I do it again...HELL YEAH!!! I don't live my life based on some type of popularity poll. I try to give anyone a fair shake and hope to receive a fair one in return. In the past this woud be the point where i would say...IM OUT OF HERE...But I don't do that silly ISH anymore. But I'm going to take a little time to digest this controversey. I leave you with the words of a late great singer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T6OoOhKM_yc - TALKING LOUD AND SAYING NOTHING - JAMES BROWN

i don't mind if Sonny is claimed as "our troll", but he's the epitome of a troll. his main purpose in posting is to make Laker fans unhappy and to rub in every bit of bad news. he's not here to spread good cheer. neither are "so called Laker fans" who've said worse.

Congrats to the Black Mamba. Even though I stand by my comments of you yesterday. But there is no denying your greatnes and staying on top of your game for 15 years. Persons should read this article on espn. http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/allstar2011/columns/story?columnist=adande_ja&page=Kobe-110219

I think it is a wrong approach in the way of winning his 6th championship as he promised to shoot first ala Michael Jordan. But Jordan shot 50% over his career whereas Kobe's best fg % was 46% several years ago. Also Jordan took a quarter of two to set up his teammates. If Kobe becomes a volume shooter in the playoffs LA will falter like the Titancic and those so sure of a 3 peat will probably suffer a coronary.

People here needs to chill because all opinions are valued. Persons like mamba24 are optimistic no matter the situation and will always cheer the Lakers. Others I believe give constructive criticism of which I believe I am apart of. I know that I am pessimistic but I also know that the lakers can play better if kobe choses to lead the way. Then there are the 131-92 who i enjoy reading what he has to say. But my point is even though this is a lakers blog fans and enemioes alike have a right to vent if the attacks are not personal and racially motivated. Like calling a player a racial epithet. After the Cavs loss i read the comments here and of coure they were mostly negative but some of the comments were funny and it cracked me right up. Like King said that's Rodney King, "Can't we all just get along".


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