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: 25-Year-Old Woman Robbed After Offering $5 To Suspect Asking For Money In Fairmount, Philadelphia Police Say
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: Thieves Steal ATM From West Philadelphia Laundromat
“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: A Behind-The-Scenes Look At Longwood Gardens' $250 Million Expansion Project That Gets Underway Today
Bryant, his daughter Gianna, and seven others lost their lives on Jan. 26, 2020, when the helicopter they were flying in crashed.