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Kobe Bryant and the NBA All-Star Game: MVPs, Slam Dunk Contests and legendary duels defined legacy

Sporting News — (Bill Bender)

Kobe Bryant's life will be celebrated throughout NBA All-Star weekend in Chicago after the Lakers star and his daughter Gianna were among nine people killed in a helicopter crash on Jan. 26. 

Jennifer Hudson is scheduled to perform a tribute before Sunday's All-Star Game, and the fourth quarter will feature an untimed target score to end the game. That number, of course, will be Bryant's 24. The jerseys also will honor Bryant and former NBA commissioner David Stern, who died in January.  

Bryant left his mark on the NBA's All-Star celebration. Here are all of his best moments.

MORE: Kobe Bryant, Michael Jordan and the 1998 All-Star Game

Kobe Bryant becomes youngest Slam Dunk Contest champion  

Bryant was 18 years and 169 days old when he won the 1997 Slam Dunk Contest in Cleveland as a rookie. It wasn't one of the most memorable dunk contests, but Bryant beat out Michael Finley and Chris Carr in the final round.

Kobe Bryant is the youngest All-Star starter in NBA history

Bryant started in the 1998 All-Star Game in Madison Square Garden in New York. He was 19 years, 170 days old, which made him the youngest starter in the game's history. Bryant and teammate Shaquille O'Neal​ joined Karl Malone, Kevin Garnett and Gary Payton on the starting five.  

This is the All-Star Game made famous by the duel between Michael Jordan, who had a game-high 23 points, and Bryant, who scored 18 points for the West. The East won, 135-114, but the back and forth between Jordan and Bryant is what still sticks out today.  

Kobe Bryant makes 18 straight All-Star Games  

That's an NBA record. The only player with more appearances is Kareem Abdul-Jabbar with 19.

Bryant started in 15 All-Star games. Los Angeles' LeBron James can break that record this season. 

Bryant also tied an All-Star Game record with four MVPs. Bryant and Bob Pettit are the only two players in NBA history to win the All-Star Game MVP award four times. Pettit won the award in 1956, 1958, 1959 and 1962.    

Kobe Bryant's MVP performances  

2002 

Bryant, a Philadelphia native, returned home to lead the West to a 135-120 victory. Bryant had a game-high 31 points in the win.  

2007 

The NBA All-Star game hit Las Vegas, and Bryant matched his 31 points from 2002 and led the West to a 153-132 victory.  

2009 

Bryant and O'Neal, then with Phoenix, teamed back up to lead the West to a 146-119 win. Bryant scored 27 points, and O'Neal added 17 points. This would help squash the feud the two superstars had during their time in Los Angeles.  

2011 

Bryant put on a show at the Staples Center with his final MVP performance. He scored 37 points with 14 rebounds in the West's 148-143 victory.  

Kobe Bryant plays his last All-Star Game in 2016  

Bryant played in his final All-Star Game in the West's 196-173 win against the East in Toronto. Bryant was the leading vote-getter for the game.  

This also marked the last duel with James in the All-Star Game. Bryant had 10 points, seven assists and six rebounds in the game, and he became the All-Star Game's all-time leader in steals with 38.