Have you ever wondered what would happen if the NBA turned loose one of its biggest stars on its annual Celebrity Game during All-Star Weekend? You know, the game where Justin Bieber breaks ankles and 1990s sitcom stars battle with today's reality television D-listers for rebounding position.
Well, here's your answer. Sort of.
Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant participated in what sounds like the most ridiculous charity basketball game of all time in Shanghei this weekend. The game, played in two 15-minute halves, featured local pop music stars. Bryant, in China on a promotional tour, sat out the entire first half before scoring a self-reported 68 points to key his team to a comeback victory, after fans somehow texted in to give his opponents an extra 20-point lead. Yes, you read that paragraph correctly.
Here's the full run-down via Bryant's Facebook page.
We played two 15 min halves with a running clock. I watched from the bench for the first half. We were trailing by 9 when I was notified that fans via text can choose a team to add 20 additional points to their tally!!! We were now down 29!! I wanted to play it cool but what the heck, the place was packed with fans who'd sang an early happy birthday to me and really wanted to watch me go to work. My teammates were down. They are all singers/actors and do not play ball much AT ALL, but they are very successful at what they do hence they are VERY competitive. They asked if I could bring them back in the second half..
I didn't want to disappoint them or the fans that had paid their hard earned money for a show so I took the challenge of really using the second half as a training session for my stamina. I ran and ran and ran. I wound up scoring 68 in the 2nd and we won. Like I said, they are not basketball players by any stretch of the imagination. I was just having fun with all of them and loved hearing the crowd enjoy the show we put on.
Clearly, 68 points in 15 minutes of action is no easy task. The 5-minute highlight video linked above sheds some light on how it happened. Bryant's opponents were regularly unable to dribble the ball past halfcourt and they repeatedly allowed him free passage to the hoop for dunks and lay-ups. Not included in the video: Bryant passing the ball even one time.
The best part of the video is that Bryant doesn't look bored in the slightest. Even though he's running up his stats in a meaningless charity game against pop singers who barely approach his shoulder when it comes to height, he's picking pockets, methodically weaving his way to the basket, rising for dunks, and soaking in the adoration of a country that is clearly crazy about him.