And rightly so. The people behind the mid-season spectacle had all but dedicated the event to one of the greatest players of all time. If there's one thing this ASW will be remembered for (other than restoring our faith in the Dunk Contest), it's the way it celebrated the Black Mamba's curtain call.
The assortment of emotion-laden online photos and videos were more than enough proof.
It all started with this gem of a find involving Western Conference All-Stars head coach Gregg Popovich and Kobe. And they weren't just exchanging banter:
Even fellow celebrities paid tribute to the man also known as "Vino."
Only the best intro and welcome rouse from the crowd for the leading vote-getter in this year's All-Star Game:
The fans' love Kobe, and vice versa.
It's quite disheartening to think that this was the last time we'll see these patented moves in the All-Star Game:
Two greats from two different generations going at it:
Even Kobe isn't safe from the James-Wade halftime photobomb gang:
More candid moments:
It's one thing to have the GOAT talk about and speak highly of you...
...it's another to receive a parting gift of this magnitude from him.
The perks of being an NBA player's kid:
Our kind of bromance:
Possibly the most emotional buzzer since Michael Jordan's final All-Star appearance:
To cap it all off, here is a couple of brief yet sentimental Kobe Bryant retrospectives.