It was Feb. 4, 2006.
Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook were in high school. Serge Ibaka was in Spain. Steven Adams was 12-years-old.
And Kobe Bryant, in the midst of one of greatest stretches in NBA history, was in Oklahoma City.
He was a legend at the top of his powers. He was averaging 41 points in his previous 10 games. He had dropped an unfathomable 81 on the Toronto Raptors just 13 days earlier.
And he was bringing the NBA's most entertaining show to OKC for the first time.
The relocated New Orleans Hornets beat Kobe's Lakers on that night, despite his 35 points. But Bryant was the center of attention, an abuzz arena naturally drawn to him.
His demeanor, pedigree and legend will always make it that way. Even seven years later. Even after a crippling Achilles tear. Even when the home team features beloved stars and a 17-4 record.
Kobe's back in town on Friday night, leading his laboring Lakers against a heavily favored Thunder team.
OKC, still a perfect 10-0 at home, is expected to cruise. But Kobe and his rapid return from last April's Achilles tear will still dominate pregame talk.
“Kobe's just a fierce competitor,” Durant said. “I didn't even think twice about him coming back and how he would be or if he would lose a step.
“When you know somebody's character and you know somebody's heart, you aren't even worried about them in injuries. Kobe's one of those guys where you knew he was going to be back. It's great for the game of basketball.”
In the two games since his return, both Laker losses, Bryant has looked a bit rusty, scoring 29 points, but committing 11 turnovers and missing all five of his 3-pointers.
“He actually had a dunk last game and it looked good,” Durant said. “He's still athletic, you can tell. But his game the last five or six years has been post-ups, great footwork, slow pace and just taking his time.”
In all likelihood, his best days are far behind him. And the end is drawing somewhat near.
Bryant recently signed a lucrative two-year contract extension, but he hinted that it would likely be the last one before retirement.
So cherish it while you still can, Thunder fans. Because the active legend and future first ballot Hall of Famer likely won't be making too many more trips back.