Kobe Bryant had his nose broken during the 2012 ASG by Dwyane Wade and the Lakers star made him pay in a game a couple days later.
Even without donning a mask, Kobe Bryant was as terrifying as it got when talking about NBA players as offensively potent as the Los Angeles Lakers superstar was. With a mask on however, it seemed as though a new aura had engulfed Staples Center, with the ‘Black Mamba’ torching defenses night in and night out.
Kobe Bryant has a rather peculiar origin to his ‘masked days’. The Lakers icon was clubbed across the face during the 2012 All-Star Game by Dwyane Wade, resulting in him breaking his nose. This is quite strange as ASGs usually feature more lax play from superstars as there is barely any defense that’s played during the night.
Wade would go on to reveal years later that Kobe had called him after the incident and told him that he loved what happened. Bryant also told the Heat star to prepare for their upcoming matchup in Los Angeles.
‘Masked’ Kobe Bryant went at the Miami Heat.
March 4th, 2012 will forever go down as the night Kobe Bryant first donned his iconic mask. He looked comfortable with the mask on from the get-go as he dropped 18 of his 33 points in the first quarter of the bout against the Miami Heat.
Dwyane Wade caught a few fadeaways from the ‘Black Mamba’ but would eventually defer to Shane Battier on the defensive assignment. Battier couldn’t do much against Kobe either as the latter continued his torrid scoring run throughout the game, especially in the 4th quarter.
Kobe Bryant would drill the late-game mid-range shot to put a decisive 8 point difference between the squads, leading the purple and gold to victory over the eventual champions.
‘Masked’ Kobe would make several more appearances throughout this 2011-12 season, with him even switching out the transparent mask for an all-black one. He would end the season averaging 27.9 points and 5.4 rebounds a game.