For the third consecutive season, Golden State Warriors point guard Stephen Curry will represent the Western Conference in the NBA All-Star Game. Leading the league in scoring and on pace for the most statistically efficient season in NBA history, Curry’s spot in this game was never in doubt.
However, this appearance holds a bit more significance because of who he will be playing alongside. After 20 NBA seasons, Kobe Bryant has announced he retire at season’s end, and will be making his final All-Star appearance in Toronto.
With both Curry and Bryant competing in the Pacific Division for all seven years Curry has been in the league, there have been plenty of memorable exchanges between the two. When asked if he had a favorite memory of Kobe, Curry shared this hilarious story:
“Our rookie year we were playing at Oracle and they had a 3-point lead down the stretch. He got fouled, going to the free throw line to ice the game with two free throws. As he’s walking from one end of the court to the other, I’m this rookie that’s just kind of living in the moment and I walk up to him as he’s walking to the free throw line: “Hey, man, you nervous about these free throws?” The look he gave me was so just mean and cold. Just like, “What are you talking about? Get out of my face, you dumb rookie.” He obviously made the two free throws and they won. I’ll remember that look he gave me forever.”
It’s pretty easy to envision the “Black Mamba” pulling this off in 2009, but times have certainly changed. Now, Curry stands as the face of the NBA, while Kobe’s newfound lightheartedness and frequent smiles are a far cry from who he once was.
The torch has already been passed to the next generation of superstars, but that won’t stop us from enjoying the beautifully nostalgic moment of Kobe running with the youngsters in this year’s All-Star Game.