The 2003 NBA All-Star game witnessed two of the greatest players in the history of the sport face off at the Philips Arena in Atlanta. In the NBA All-Star voting that year, Lakers great Kobe Bryant ended up with the highest number of votes, racking up 1,474,386 votes in the ballot to lead the Western Conference NBA All-Star personnel. On the other side, NBA legend Michael Jordan kitted up for the Eastern Conference in what would be his final NBA All-Star appearance. NBA fans were, therefore, handed a Kobe Bryant vs Michael Jordan match-up in the Chicago Bulls legend's final All-Star game.
17 years ago today, Kobe and Jordan were trash talking at the 2003 NBA All-Star game. pic.twitter.com/ZAaAaQKS9t— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) February 9, 2020
The 2003 NBA All-Star game was significant for a number of reasons, not least the fact that this would be Michael Jordan's final All-Star appearance. Regarded by many to be the greatest player to grace the NBA, Michael Jordan could only rack up enough votes to make the bench for the Eastern Conference. However, the then-Raptors star Vince Carter relinquished his starting spot for Michael Jordan on the night. Thus, NBA fans stood witness to the final Kobe Bryant vs Michael Jordan match-up.
The 2003 NBA All-Star game in favour of Kobe Bryant and the Western Conference stars. The then Minnesota Timberwolves star Kevin Garnett finished with a game-high 37 points as Philadelphia 76ers legend Allen Iverson scored a team-high 35 points. The highlight of the 2003 All-Star game, however, was the Kobe Bryant banter with Michael Jordan.
Michael Jordan, on his 14th All-Star appearance, was subject to some Kobe Bryant banter on the night. While the Lakers legend tried to rile up the Chicago Bulls legend, Michael Jordan replied to Kobe Bryant in the only way he could. "Hey, you only got three now, I got six", referring to the number of championship rings he finished his career with. Kobe Bryant would go on to win two more championships six years after Michael Jordan's final All-Star game, ultimately ending up one short of Michael Jordan's record.