The legendary Kobe Bryant was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He lived there until he was six.
Then his father, who was an NBA player, Joe “Jellybean” Bryant, decided to take his career to Europe.
After eight years of playing professional basketball in Italy, Joe decided to retire, and he moved his family back to America.
Kobe was back in the states and back in the Philadelphia area. He'd play high school ball at Lower Merion High school, and he'd lead his school to their first PIAA state championship since 1943.
So, with all Kobe had done for the city of Philadelphia, the city would surely show him love when the NBA All-Star Game was held in Philly during the 2001-02 season. Right?
The date was February 10th, 2002. The game took place at the First Union Center in Philadelphia, home of the 76ers.
Kobe Bryant had been waiting for this moment since 1999, the original date of the All-Star Game being held in Philadelphia.
The problem was in 1999, the NBA had a lockout season which reduced the season to only 50 games. They didn't have the All-Star Game that year, and it was rescheduled for the 2002 All-Star Game.
This All-Star Game was special because it was Michael Jordan's first All-Star Game since coming out of retirement for the Washington Wizards.
On this night, Jordan wouldn't be much of a factor. With only 8 points and a wide-open breakaway dunk, it's safe to say it wasn't his night.
The night belonged to Kobe, who seemed to be playing at a higher intensity than any of the other players.
He scored a game-high 31 points on 12-25 shooting. Kobe led the West to a relatively easy 135-120 victory.
To no surprise to anyone, Kobe was named the All-Star Game MVP, this would be the first of four that he'd win in his legendary career.
This special moment of winning his first All-Star Game MVP in front of his hometown crowd would quickly be ruined by the reception of the fans.
Philly Being Philly
As Kobe was presented the MVP trophy, the crowd booed at the top of their lungs.
This clearly hurt Kobe, but you know what they say about Philadelphia, they were the fans that booed Santa Claus.
With some context, you can see why the Philly fans weren't too fond of the hometown kid winning the MVP.
The previous season, the Philadelphia 76ers reached the NBA Finals, and they faced Kobe and the Los Angeles Lakers.
The Lakers defeated the 76ers in five games and even though Shaquille O'Neal won the Finals MVP, Kobe played great and the fans in Philadelphia did not forget.
As Kobe's career progressed, he started to receive cheers whenever he played in Philadelphia. This was a great sight to see.
Today, the NBA All-Star Game MVP award has been renamed to the NBA All-Star Game Kobe Bryant Most Valuable Player Award. This is a great honor that will keep Kobe's name relevant for years to come.