PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Kobe Bryant is a beloved figure in Philadelphia but that wasn’t the case 19 years ago during the 2002 NBA All-Star Game. Philly fans unmercifully booed the 23-year-old Bryant and the young superstar wasn’t quite happy about it.
19 years ago today, Philly fans booed Kobe Bryant throughout his MVP performance in the 2002 All-Star game.READ MORE: Philadelphia Museum Of Art's Core Project Opens To Public After 2 Decades Of Planning, 4 Years Of Construction
Kobe: "My feelings are hurt being from Philadelphia."
Don Nelson: "Don't take it personal. They wish they had you." pic.twitter.com/mKoYd75jLs
— Ballislife.com (@Ballislife) February 10, 2021
One of the big reasons the pride of Lower Merion High School wasn’t cheered that night — the Los Angeles Lakers beat the Philadelphia 76ers in the NBA Finals the previous season.READ MORE: 5-Year-Old Boy Injured After Attacked By Stray Pit Bull In Oxford Circle
“My feelings are hurt, man. I mean, I’m just out there trying to play and have a good time. My feelings are hurt being from Philadelphia,” Bryant told sportscaster Jim Gray during a midgame interview.
Bryant added that he didn’t know why Philly fans turned on him.
“No, I don’t know, but all I can do is go out there and continue to play and have a good time and support the city which I started my basketball career,” Bryant said.
It didn’t get any better for Bryant after he was named the game’s MVP for dropping 31 points in the West’s 135-120 win over the East.
“It feels good to come home. I know the fans are booing, but nonetheless, it feels good to come home and play in front of the home crowd. I had a chance to go back to the high school and see my family, it’s good to be here,” Bryant said after the game. “It’s a little different, but home is home, and I enjoy coming back, even though the reception isn’t warm I still enjoyed coming back.”
Philly fans eventually warmed up to the Hall-of-Famer, giving him multiple standing ovations throughout his career when he came back to play the Sixers.MORE NEWS: Drexel Crew Teams Excited For This Year's Rowing Competition As Dad Vail Regatta Returns To Schuylkill Since Pandemic Cancellation
Bryant, his daughter Gianna, and seven others lost their lives on Jan. 26, 2020, when the helicopter they were flying in crashed.