7 Best Moments in the History of the NBA All-Star Game
Throughout the storied history of the NBA All-Star Game, we have witnessed many great feats.
From epic comebacks, to incredible individual performance and, sometimes, events that vastly transcended the game itself.
The All-Star Game at its core is the epitome of what NBA basketball is all about: incredible individual talent, sportsmanship and team basketball at a high level.
Let's recognize some of the greatest All-Star Game moments.
Bean Puts on a Show
We know Kobe Bryant loves to score, and he did just that in the 2011 NBA All-Star Game. Taking place in the Staples Center, Kobe definitely had the home-court magic on his side that night.
He went off by scoring 37 points, grabbing 14 boards, three steals and three dimes as well. Kobe's dominant performance undoubtedly inspired the rest of the West, as they went on to light it up in their 148-143 win over the East.
Another fun fact: Kobe snagged 10 offensive rebounds, which was an event record. His effort on the glass was a reminder of how hard he played that game. Like Michael Jordan, Kobe is often considered an almost pathological competitor.
Even in an exhibition game, he still demonstrated that he's a fearsome competitor, and his efforts were awarded with MVP honors after the game.
One of the highest-scoring performances in All-Star history, no one can forget the show Kobe put on in 2011.
Zeke Makes History
Isiah Thomas made history in the 1986 All-Star Game by dishing out a lot of dimes and getting buckets.
Until he did it in 1986, no player had ever scored 30 points and 10 assists in the event. He also managed to snag five steals to fill up the stat sheet. The game certainly encapsulated a lot of his career as a player—cunning, creative and deadly with the ball in his hands.
He managed to achieve MVP honors as he led an impressive comeback, down seven with under four minutes to go in the ball game.
Against the likes of Kareem, Magic Johnson and James Worthy, Zeke and the East fought back to get the 139-132 victory.
His toughness and talent was really on full display in the '86 All-Star Game, and his history-making performance remains as a testament.
Wilt the Stilt Sets the Bar for Scoring
People tend to associate Wilt Chamberlain with two numbers— 25,000 and 100.
Well, let's recognize him for a third number—42.
Forty-two, as in 42 points, the all-time scoring record by an individual in the NBA All-Star Game. In 1962, Chamberlain's line of 42 points and 24 boards is still an impressive achievement to this day.
Despite the obvious differences between Chamberlain's era and the contemporary players, it is still a remarkable accomplishment.
While most of us weren't alive to witness it, true basketball historians recognize his greatness. Despite Chamberlain's brilliance on the stat sheet, it wasn't enough to give the East a victory. The West won by a margin of 20 in their 150-130 victory.
Although his team didn't win, Chamberlain still deserves props for yet again setting the bar for scoring.
A.I. and the East's Epic Comeback
We love a good underdog story.
Throughout his career, Allen Iverson epitomized the underdog. Despite his relatively short stature, he made up for it with quickness, talent and natural grit. If you're looking back on Iverson's career, his performance in the 2001 All-Star Game should be evidence of the aforementioned qualities.
Despite facing a 21-point deficit in the fourth quarter, Iverson ignited a miracle-like comeback to give the East a 111-110 victory. During the final nine minutes in the fourth quarter, Iverson scored 15 points and finished with 25 for the game.
Thanks to his timely scoring and clutch baskets from Stephon Marbury, the East prevailed in what will be remembered as one of the greatest comebacks in All-Star Game history.
Mike's Last All-Star Dance
The 2003 All-Star Game, aside from being Michael Jordan's final All-Star appearance, also featured another storyline. We saw the All-Star Game debut of Yao Ming—the first rookie since Grant Hill to start in an All-Star Game.
We also saw one nail-biter of a contest.
Kevin Garnett dropped 37 points as the game's MVP during the only double-overtime All-Star Game in the event's history. With it being M.J.'s last contest, he didn't do too bad either.
Mike finished with 20 points, and he also nailed a key shot in the waning seconds of the first overtime. Despite an additional 35 from Allen Iverson and 29 from Tracy McGrady, the West pulled through with a 155-145 victory.
While Jordan's squad didn't get the win, he still gave a valiant effort to close out his last All-Star Game.
Michael Dominates the '88 All-Star Game
The 1988 All-Star weekend was a great one for Michael Jordan.
Not only did he put on one of the most epic dunk contest performances of all time, he also put on one of the most incredible All-Star Game performances ever.
Mike dropped 40 points, snagged eight boards and was a defensive force with four blocks and four steals. He propelled the East to a 138-133 victory over the West, but Michael wasn't the only one who put on a show.
Dominique Wilkins finished with a convincing 29 points, and the opposing West starters all finished with double-digit scoring loads. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's 10 points helped make him the all-time scoring leader in All-Star Game history.
While the other contributions were admirable, Mike getting MVP honors at the end of the game was the finishing touch on his dominant weekend.
The Game That Transcended the Sport
High-scoring contests and electrifying individual performances are all well and great, but at the end of the day, it's just a game.
However, there are moments in sports that transcend the game itself, and perhaps, the greatest of these moments in the NBA occurred during the 1992 NBA All-Star Game.
When Magic announced he had HIV and subsequently retired, many didn't think he would play in the event. Despite much concern, Magic did in fact play, and he put on quite a show.
Magic finished as the game's MVP and scored 25 points, nine assists and grabbed five boards in a 153-113 blowout of the Eastern Conference. It was a reminder that, sometimes in life, there are moments that are bigger than us as individuals.
For years, Magic's warmth and enthusiasm for the game was one of his greatest qualities, and to see other players literally embrace him for everything he had done was inspiring.
It wasn't the greatest game per se, but it was undoubtedly the greatest moment in the event's history. For one game, it was about more than the final score.
It was about reminding one of the all-time greats that everyone had his back in the face of tremendous adversity.