There was plenty of controversy on and off the court during Saturday's NBA All-Star Game in Charlotte, North Carolina.

When LeBron James struggled shooting and falling behind, Kobe Bryant complimented him during a congratulatory visit with the NBA champion Cleveland Cavaliers.

When Russell Westbrook, in his second year as a starter, had his first-half struggles, Bryant gave him positive reinforcement.

When another young player, Marc Gasol, shot 3 of 10 from the field for the Grizzlies, Bryant provided a little encouragement.

"Good game, kid," Bryant said as Gasol walked past him to take a seat.

When the Lakers' Lonzo Ball managed only three points in 11 minutes against the North Carolina State Wolfpack, Bryant empathized.

"The first bucket you missed is usually the hardest to make," Bryant said.

And when The Rock, Dwayne Johnson, dived for a loose ball and knocked it away, he commended James as "the MVP of the game."

At the halftime awards ceremony, The Rock and Bryant posed for a group photo and took turns thanking one another. They made for a pretty good photo-op.

"What I've learned from Kobe is to never leave anything unfinished," The Rock said. "I said this last night, 'There's always something unfinished."

Some Lakers players thought it was disheartening that the top vote-getter, James, was not selected as an All-Star starter.

"For you to dominate, you deserve to be there," Lonzo Ball said. "LeBron is putting up numbers, playing at a high level, just playing as well as I've ever seen him play. It's sad that he's not a starter, but at the same time, he gets MVP and everyone's happy with him being there, so you have to give credit where credit is due."

D'Angelo Russell was sent to the bench in the fourth quarter with teammate Kyle Kuzma.

"I thought I could make something happen," Russell said. "I thought I could make a play."

But he had to sit.

"They didn't tell me not to shoot, I was just on the bench," Russell said. "But when I'm on the bench, it's not me."

Bryant could have made a few more passes to James and made the impact known that he could. "I've seen Kobe do that before," Ball said. "It's fine by me."

Still, Bryant could not have been more on board with the additions of Clippers guard Patrick Beverley and Grizzlies forward Chandler Parsons.

"So it makes it a lot easier to come out, happy for him," Bryant said of Beverley. "He's earned it in the city of Los Angeles. I'm happy for Chandler to finally be in this All-Star Game, a big-time player. He got an All-Star Trophy, even though he's never played in one of these games. So I'm happy for him, congratulations."

It was a treat for Bryant to watch and watch all the youngsters.

"It's fun to see the future of the league coming up," he said. "You saw how everybody was flowing with the ball, and they have fun, they play hard and they go out there and get it done. I thought that was a fun thing to see."

Bryant said he didn't know much about the featured players. "There were a couple of other guys I kind of know, which is basically the same," he said. "But it was fun to watch those guys bring it tonight.

"So we'll see what happens."