Kobe Bryant honoured before last NBA All-Star Game appearance
Lakers legend retiring at end of season
Kobe Bryant, in his 18th and final appearance in the NBA All-Star Game, was the subject of a pre-game tribute including two videos in Toronto on Sunday.
With the NBA calling his career brilliant, there was first a video that showed clips of some of Bryant's best moments — starting with his draft-night selection, an array of dunks, a famous lob to Shaquille O'Neal in a playoff win over Portland, some game-winning shots, his defensive intensity and even some images of his Olympic play.
And yes, there was mention of his 81-point game against Toronto, probably to the dismay of the home crowd.
After the first video, Magic Johnson took the microphone to laud Bryant even further and eventually introduce a second tape of Bryant's moments, with the retiring Los Angeles Lakers great narrating parts of it and other All-Stars offering him words of thanks.
Bryant then addressed the crowd, as they chanted his name at a deafening level. Bryant said he's "been extremely fortunate to play the game I love and be in the NBA for more than half my life."
He ended his remarks by saying, "Thank you so much — and now I've got to go get loose."
Bryant checked out of the game with just over a minute remaining, leaving to a standing ovation, hugs from players, and more chanting of his name.
The West easily defeated the East by a whopping score of 196-173.
With files from CBC Sports