Shaq and Kobe named co-MVP’s in 2009 All-Star Game

16 02 2009

Shaq and Kobe at the 2009 All-Star Game. (REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson)

Shaq and Kobe at the 2009 All-Star Game. (REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson)


Shaquille O’Neal of the Phoenix Suns and Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant brought back memories of the past at the 2009 All-Star Game in Phoenix, Arizona. The former teammates led the way, as the West dominated the East 146-119.

The two stood side by side and raised the MVP trophy, bringing back memories of old times, when the two won three NBA championships in four seasons with the Los Angeles Lakers.

Shaq, Kobe, and coach Phil Jackson. (Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images)

Shaq, Kobe, and coach Phil Jackson. (Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images)

“It felt like old times, when we were the best big man, little man tandem,” a soft-spoken O’Neal said.

The two joked at the podium and showed some respect to each other after an ugly break-up four years ago, that sent O’Neal out of Los Angeles. Just when many thought the two had become enemies, the all stars exchanged compliments. Bryant also let O’Neal take the MVP trophy, so the at he can bring it home to his son.

Bryant had a solid game, leading the way with 27 points, four steals, four rebounds and four assists. O’Neal had a significant impact as well, adding 17 points, five rebounds and three assists, while only playing just under 11 minutes in the game.

O’Neal opened up the game with a dance routine with the Jabbawokeez, the winners of the first season of America’s Best Dance Crew. While they all wore white masks and popped and locked to the beat of the music, it was not difficult to guess the identity of the 7’1″, 325 lbs dancer in the middle of the group.

“This could be my last time in the all-star game and I wanted to do something that made it special,” O’Neal said.

The fun carried over to the game. as Shaq showed some fancy dribbling skills and threw down a few big dunks, bringing fans and players to their feet.

One play that fired up the arena occurred when O’Neal had the ball at the three-point line. He was guarded by Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard. The two exchanged trash talk and then O’Neal bounced a pass through Howard’s legs. The Phoenix center cut to the basket and received the pass for a monster dunk.

O’Neal nearly had another highlight moment, but was fouled as he prepared for a big move in the lane. When asked about being fouled on a break to the basket by ESPN’s J.A. Adande at the post-game press conference, O’Neal replied, “I was going to one-hand windmill it like Vince Carter in the 2000 dunk contest.”

Bryant was asked to grade O’Neal’s performance on the night. “I’ll give his dancing an A+,” Bryant said. “He moves pretty good for a big guy.”

The two laughed for the time being, but knew that the fun that they had over the weekend and the memorable moments of the game had come to an end.

“It’s fun, I had a good time, but as soon as I leave this podium, it’s back to business,” Bryant said.

Posted by Shawn Brown

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