We have come down to the final 8 of our Kobe countdown. We have enjoyed bringing you this list and it was a lot of fun debating what moments to include and what order they should be placed. It was an honor getting to see a legend such as Kobe play and a joy rehashing some of these moments.
8. Getting drafted then traded
Hindsight is always 20/20, so I’m not going to go with the lazy take on this one, which would be to lambaste the Hornets for trading away the future Hof’er. Drafting high schoolers was a risky proposition, so even Kobe wasn’t a sure thing, but the argument could be made that this trade worked out moderately well for the Lakers.
7. The Achilles Tear
Hear me out before you say I am cruel for highlighting a moment featuring an injury that has been a career killer for many a player. It is actually not the injury itself, rather it was Kobe’s response to it after it happened. In a game against the Golden State Warriors that the Lakers had to have in order to make the playoffs, Kobe tears his Achilles while making a move. He manages to get to his feet and sinks his two free throws and hobbles to the locker room under his own power. This was a moment that showed me what the guy was about and I respect that; I respect the hell out of that.
6. 61 at MSG
MSG has always been a special place for Kobe; he scored his first NBA point there and averaged 29.9 ppg over his career,
which along with Lebron James is second highest scoring average in the building behind Micheal Jordan’s 31.8. On February,2 2009 Kobe scored 61, breaking MJ’s scoring record at the Garden.
5. Scoring 40 or more in 9 straight games
Fom February 6-23 Kobe went on quite a scoring tear. Over the course of those stretch of games he scored at 40 in every contest. That’s getting it done.
5. 4 consecutive games of 50 or more points
The week of March 16-23 of 2007 was a very good one for Kobe. In the course of leading his team to a 4-0 record during that time, he dropped , 65, 50, 60, and 50 respectively, a streak only bested by Wilt Chamberlain with 7.
4. The 2003-o4 Season
We all know what is alleged to have happened in Eagle, Colorado in July 2003. The legal proceedings surrounding the case spilled over into the ’03-04. It was truly impressive,considering the gravity of the situation facing him, watching light up the league like that. He’d be in court in the morning, then fly to wherever the Lakers were that night and give cats buckets. To paraphrase something that was said about that time, it really was like he was trying to win that case on the court.
3. 60 in his final game
April 13,2016 against the Utah Jazz was final game in the legendary career of Kobe Bryant. Despite getting off too a slow start, missing his first 5 shots, he hit his next five, which every sent the crowd and his teammates into even more of a frenzy with each make. Although he was scoring a lot, the Jazz was still in control of the ball game, the Lakers , now powered by a semi-vintage Kobe performance, chipped away at the lead and finally it was the man himself who hit the go ahead basket with under a minute to go as the Lakers went on to score a rare victory this season.
2. Game 4 2000 NBA Finals
This is unequivocally my favorite Kobe NBA finals game performance. After injuring his ankle in the second quarter of game 2( a game the Lakers went on to win),Kobe missed the rest of that game and didn’t play in game 3( which the Pacers won) altogether. Game 4 was pivotal as Indiana looked to tie the series. When Shaq fouled out in OT, the budding young star knocked down two huge jumpshots and a putback off a Brian Shaw miss that put LA up by three. The Lakers went on to win 120-118 and the series in 6 games.
1. January 21,2006 against the Toronto Raptors
There is not much that has not already been written about this remarkable performance. However I will say the way this game unfolded, the Lakers needed a superhuman performance from their main man to win this game.