Kobe Bryant, during the 2002 All-Star Game, said that his feelings were hurt after hearing NBA fans in Philadelphia boo him.
Kobe Bryant was a Philadelphian through and through in his formative years as a teenager. Having been born in Philly and returning at the age of 13 after spending his childhood in Reiti, Italy for 7 years, Bryant attended Lower Merion High School and earned the title of Pennsylvania Player of the Year in his junior year.
Everything from his mannerisms, the way he spoke, to how he approached the game of basketball had that Philadelphia flare to it. Unfortunately, the Sixers didn’t pick Kobe in the 1996 NBA Draft as he was still a player out of high school and it would’ve been too much of a risk to bet their high pick on a kid out of high school.
Luckily for Kobe Bryant, the draft night trade that sent him from the Hornets to the Los Angeles Lakers worked out for him as his favorite team growing up was the purple and gold.
Despite him not ever playing for the 76ers, Kobe believed the city of Philadelphia had love for him as he is native to the state of Pennsylvania. This however, was not the case in 2002.
Kobe Bryant was not shown love at the 2002 NBA All-Star Game.
Reigning NBA MVP Allen Iverson received an inordinate amount of love and affection during the 2002 All-Star Game as it was held in Philly, the city he plays for. Kobe Bryant on the other hand, was booed from the introductions all the way to the end of the game.
While having 31 points, en route to the 2002 ASG MVP, and sitting on the bench, Kobe was asked about how he felt with his home crowd’s incessant booing directed towards him. Bryant very somberly said:
“Yea my feelings are hurt man, I mean, I’m just out there playing trying to have a good time and uh, my feelings are hurt being from Philadelphia.”
Of course, the booing was warranted, sort of, as his Lakers had gentleman swept the 76ers the year prior in the NBA Finals so booing the man who sent them home makes sense from a competitive standpoint.
Kobe Bryant did get an incredible amount of cheers from the Sixer crowd eventually during his final game in Philadelphia during the 2016 NBA season.