MVP Bryant leads West over East
Las Vegas - Whether it's the regular season, the playoffs or simply a game of playground pick-up, it doesn't take Kobe Bryant long to get the competitive juices flowing.
The 28-year-old Los Angeles Lakers had 31 points, six steals, six assists and collected the MVP award on Sunday, leading the Western Conference to a 153-132 win over the East in the 2007 NBA All-Star Game.
Bryant said the West had something to prove this year after dropping the last two mid-season showdowns.
"We felt like we blew big leads the last couple of times and we wanted to make sure that didn't happen again," Bryant said. "Nobody wants to lose three in a row no matter where it is."
Bryant was a unanimous choice for the trophy, winning all 10 votes in the balloting.
This marks the second time Bryant has earned MVP All-Star honours. He also scored 31 points in being named MVP of the 2002 game in Philadelphia where he was booed in front of his hometown crowd.
Las Vegas was a completely different story as the crowd at the Thomas and Mack Centre arena chanted Bryant's name on Sunday.
"As players we always want to feel like we are appreciated for what we do," Bryant said. "To have this type of reaction is very humbling."
Phoenix's Amare Stoudemire gave Bryant a run for his money in all-star performances on Sunday by scoring 20 points. Stoudemire said Bryant deserved the trophy.
"Kobe came out and played pretty aggressive," Stoudemire said. "As a team we were able to rally around him and get a win."
Bryant also had six steals on Sunday for a career total of 26 to move into third place on the all-time All-Star steals list behind Michael Jordan (37) and Isiah Thomas (31).