The world continues to mourn Kobe Bryant over two weeks after his untimely death. Recently, fans noted that Feb. 10 marks the anniversary of Bryant's first All-Star game, which took place 23 years ago.
As one fan noted on Twitter, Bryant's first All-Star game, which took place on Feb. 10, 1998, saw him competing against fellow legend Michael Jordan. Bryant, then 19 years old, impressed everyone who attended the event with his impressive, creative moves. At one point, the athlete performed a reverse slam dunk and, later in the game, he could be seen dribbling the ball behind himself before making a drive to the hoop. His moves were so impressive that it even led to a Magic Johnson, who was watching from the audience, giving him a standing ovation.
"23 Years Ago Today: Kobe Bryant introduces himself to the world," sports reporter Darren Rovell wrote on Twitter, alongside photos of Bryant in his element. "Scores 31 in the Rookie All-Star Game. Two hours later, wins Dunk Contest."
Today in 1998: Kobe's first All-Star Game.
A swagger and confidence like no other at 19-years-old. ♾ pic.twitter.com/uaWjrtOmWH— Timeless Sports (@timelesssports_) February 8, 2020
This anniversary serves as an emotional reminder of Bryant's prowess on the basketball court and the longstanding legacy that he's leaving behind. On Jan. 26, it was reported that Bryant, his daughter Gianna Bryant, and seven other individuals had died as a result of a helicopter crash that occurred in Calabasas, California.
In the days since this tragic incident, many have issued tributes to the late icon. Johnson, the same famed basketball player who was in awe of Bryant's first All-Star game performance, honored the athlete shortly after his passing.
"As I try to write this post, my mind is racing," Johnson wrote, captioning photos of Bryant with Gianna. "I'm in disbelief and have been crying all morning over this devastating news that Kobe and his young daughter, Gigi have passed away in a helicopter crash. Cookie and I are heartbroken."
"My friend, a legend, husband, father, son, brother, Oscar winner and greatest Laker of all-time is gone. It's hard to accept," Johnson wrote in a subsequent tweet, captioning photos of himself and Bryant. "Kobe was a leader of our game, a mentor to both male and female players."
"Laker Nation, the game of basketball [and] our city, will never be the same without Kobe," he continued on Twitter. "Cookie [and] I are praying for Vanessa, his beautiful daughters Natalia, Bianka [and] Capri, as well as his parents Joe [and] Pam [and] his sisters. We will always be here for the Bryant family."