The old footage shows the youngest All-Star starter in NBA history walking toward center court inside Madison Square Garden. As he slaps hands with Penny Hardaway, pats Dikembe Mutombo on the rump and exchanges a quickie hug with Grant Hill, the narrative of the 19-year-old unfolds for millions of television viewers.
"And there you see Kobe Bryant in the foreground, the man many have dubbed the next Michael Jordan," NBC commentator Bob Costas says on the broadcast of the 1998 All-Star game, Jordan's last before the second of three retirements. "Of course, that's a bit silly, there will be no next Michael Jordan."
All these years later, a similar statement...
Lakers star Kobe Bryant is set to play Sunday for the first time since suffering a torn Achilles' tendon last season.