NBA: The Best and Worst of Los Angeles Lakers Kobe Bryant in the All-Star Game

Kobe Bean Bryant is a chucker. He shoots first (and second) and gives interviews later.

Bryant made the 60th NBA All-Star game his and, simultaneously, took it away from everyone else.

That is, until LeBron James had his say. You see, James had seen this tired act before, in Las Vegas in 2007 and again in Phoenix two years ago.

Bryant's formula for All-Star success is a simple one: shoot every time you touch the ball, chase down every loose ball and, if push comes to shove, induce fouls.

Bryant has attempted at least 23 shots in the All-Star game four times. Each time, he was named the game's MVP. Sunday was no different, though no less easy to stomach.

So why not start the game guns-ablazing?

Now don't get me wrong, I love it when guys go hard in games that others claim don't matter.

In fact, Kobe's first quarter didn't bother me at all (even though he shot the ball seven times en route to 11 points). Michael Jordan's focus and energy in the midseason showcase would often raise the level of play amongst his peers.

(Any All-Star game you watch that Doug Collins does will undoubtedly have him gushing over Jordan's 1997 effort, when he led the East back from a double-digit second quarter deficit on his way to the first triple-double in All-Star game history and the victory.)

Kobe's effort and focus in the first quarter legitimized the contest; it let everyone in the building know that this game matters.

Unfortunately, it didn't matter to anyone else until the East had dug itself what turned out to be too big a hole.

My favorite player is Dwyane Wade, so when I saw Kobe strip him twice in the first six minutes, I was excited to see how Wade would respond to the challenge.

Again, it's not his effort that bothers me; it's his motives.

His only focus was winning MVP. He wasn't looking for newcomers Blake...

About the Author