In 1998, Michael Jordan was chosen for his twelfth NBA All-Star Game, receiving the most votes among all players. Given his fondness for playing at Madison Square Garden, he aimed to deliver an exceptional performance and provide an entertaining experience for the audience.
Joining Jordan in the Eastern Conference starting line-up were: Penny Hardaway, Grant Hill, Shawn Kemp, and Dikembe Mutumbo.
Western Conference starters are: Gary Payton, Kobe Bryant, Kevin Garnett, Karl Malone and Shaquille O’Neal.
Although they didn’t know it then, more than 10 players from the game would go on to join the NBA Hall of Fame.
But even with all the superstar talent, MJ’s focus was on the young Kobe Bryant, who was the youngest player ever to be selected as an All-Star starter.
In the ESPN documentary “The Last Dance,” Jordan referred to Bryant as “that little Laker boy” and told his teammates to watch out for him in isolated scoring situations.
Jordan was right in planning Bryant, as he led all Western Conference players by 18 points.
But Kobe’s strong game wasn’t enough to take down Jordan, who put up 23 points, eight assists, six rebounds, and three steals.
For his performance, Jordan was awarded his third and final All-Star Game MVP.
The East won the game handily 135-114.