Kobe Bryant continued to show off his array of skills — not to mention clutch lockdown defense over the East’s best player — finishing with 8 assist, 9 points, 4 rebounds, 2 steals and 2 blocks in the 2013 NBA All-Star game.
Dwight Howard added 9 points and seven rebounds, as the Lakers’ inputs to the Western Conference All-Stars contributed to the team’s 143-138 victory over the East.
The night capped of a busy weekend for the Lakers’ all-stars, who besides answering a barrage of questions from the media and participating in three days full of events, also took time to help build a playground in Houston.
Howard and Bryant were joined by fellow NBA all-stars Tony Parker and Tim Duncan of the Spurs, and retired NBA greats Clyde Drexler, Yao Ming, Dikembe Mutombo and Sean Elliot.
Howard said he began his day at 6 a.m. to surprise a group of children at a local hospital before heading to the playground.
Howard and the group joined nonprofit Kaboom to help put together slides, jungle gyms and swings for children in Houston’s Fifth Ward.
You can watch D12, who says he is a “pro” at building playgrounds, having fun and working the rake over at Lakers.com.
"When you're in a position and you have a platform and you have a voice you don't want that to go to waste,” Kobe Bryant, who was on hand with his daughter Natalia, told FOX 26. “You have to use it to inspire others, to help others."
Kobe’s generosity on the court this season continued in his 15th All-Star appearance.
Bryant’s eight dimes included a teardrop alley-oop to the Clippers’ Blake Girffin, a behind-the-back dribble and skip pass to the Thunder’s Kevin Durant and a chest pass to a wide-open Howard for a three point field goal.
Kobe also spent most of the fourth quarter guarding the Heat’s LeBron James. In a span of a few minutes, Bryant gracefully shook James’ teammate Chris Bosh for a pretty layup before blocking LeBron’s jump shot.
Kobe’s famous intensity was on display as he continued his lockdown defense on the league’s reigning MVP with another swat in the post. James managed just one point off a free throw and went 0 for 3 from the field in the fourth.
The matchup between the league’s top-two players for the better part of the past decade was underscored by Michael Jordan’s assertion that he would take Kobe (and his five NBA championships) over LeBron (and his sole NBA championships), at least for now.
You can follow Erick Galindo on Twitter @ErickGeee