Kobe Bryant shows why he is king of LA

Saying good-bye to the Black Mamba.

Hollywood, CA-The finality of the 2011 NBA All-Star weekend fittingly belonged to Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant. In a weekend of star gathering around the NBA’s annual players’ showcase game, Kobe Bryant showed why he is the biggest star of them all. Yes, even Kanye West made his way here.

Sure, rap superstar Snoop Dogg was in the house. Pop diva Rhianna got a lot of attention.  And you can add the names of Leonardo DiCaprio and Jamie Foxx to the list of A-list celebrities being in the midst of one of Hollywood’s big bash weekends. But this was one weekend that clearly belonged to the Black Mamba.

For 15 years, Kobe Bryant has made heads swivel, put fear into opponents and lifted an already championship-rich organization to another level of excellence. Bryant has produced five titles for the Lakers, led the NBA in scoring twice and has executed numerous jaw-dropping, highlight-reel moves and performances. This weekend Bryant even outdid himself.

February 20, 2011; Kobe Bryant #24 of the West (Los Angeles Lakers) during the 2011 (60th) NBA All Star Game at Staples Center in downtown Los Angeles CA. The West defeated the East by the final score of 148-143.
February 20, 2011; Kobe Bryant #24 of the West (Los Angeles Lakers) during the 2011 (60th) NBA All Star Game at Staples Center in downtown Los Angeles CA. The West defeated the East by the final score of 148-143.

Reminding NBA fans that he is still at the top of his game, Bryant electrified Staples Center and a worldwide audience with a spectacular and dominating 37-point, 14-rebound performance to lead his West squad to a 148-143 win against LeBron James and the East squad in this year’s NBA All-Star game. That earned Bryant his fourth All-Star MVP award, a record that only he and Hall of Famer Bob Pettit share.

Oh yeah, adding to the Black Mamba’s mystique, Bryant came away with a made for poster dunk on James late in the game.

The most valuable player award was just icing on the cake on a weekend of superlatives and recognition for Bryant. Being included into the Hollywood Walk of Fame could be the highlight of Bryant’s storied professional basketball career, that’s including winning a gold medal for the United States basketball team at the 2008 Olympics.

Bryant officially had his hands and feet embedded in cement at the fame Grauman’s Chinese Theater in Hollywood the day before his riveting All-Star game performance. Joining a long list of the Hollywood elite, including Marilyn Monroe, Brad Pitt, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Will Smith and Harrison Ford with their imprints in concrete, Bryant is the first athlete to be feted with this honor.

Of course, the two-time NBA Finals MVP was all smiles and humbleness about being bestowed such an honor.

“I remember like it was yesterday being 17-years-old coming to L.A.,” Bryant said. “I feel like I’ve grown up in this city. We’ve have had a lot of ups and downs…Here we are with five championships. I just feel extremely honored to be able to do this. It’s not something I’ve ever thought about.”

Among the dignitaries attending the ceremony were parts of the Lakers management, including coach Phil Jackson, general manager Mitch Kupchak and Jeanie Buss, executive vice president of business operations. Actors George Lopez, Robert Townsend and Arsenio Hall, along with Bryant’s wife Vanessa and their two children were present as well.

This  article was originally published in 2011

Dennis J. Freeman
About Dennis J. Freeman 1271 Articles
Dennis is a news and sports photojournalist. Dennis has covered and written on issues such as civil rights, education, politics, and social justice. His work has appeared in the Los Angeles Times, Daily Breeze, Daily Press, Los Angeles Wave, Los Angeles Sentinel, and other media outlets. Dennis is currently the editor and publisher of News4usonline. He covers the NFL, NBA, Major League Baseball, and NCAA. Dennis is an alum and graduate of Howard University.