With today being Kobe’s birthday, and the LA City Council declaring tomorrow, 8/24, to be “Kobe Bryant Day”, we decided to celebrate by counting down the 5 greatest moments of the illustrious career of one Kobe Bryant.
#5.) Back-to-back without Shaq
Often discredited for not winning a title without Shaq, Kobe silenced all the naysayers when he led the Lakers through a grinded-out 7-game series against the Celtics in the 2010 Finals, as the Lakers captured their 2nd consecutive title, and Bryant repeated the Finals MVP award.
#4.) The 40-point month
Nowadays, if a player finds his stroke and eclipses the 40-point mark on a given night, that player will likely dominate the headlines.
And for Kobe Bryant in January of 2006 that happened. All. Month. Long.
Mamba averaged an absurd 43.4 PPG in the 13 games that he suited up for that month. It was the highest scoring month for any player since Wilt Chamberlain averaged over 45 PPG 43 years prior.
#3.) 2008 Olympics
Although he wasn’t apart of the disastrous 2004 Olympic team, he still had that burden on his shoulders at the 2008 summer games.
The United States cruised through both their preliminary matchups and elimination games, but faced a tough test when they met Spain in the Gold Medal game.
And when the game was nip and tuck in the 4th quarter, Bryant delivered his most iconic performance donning the red white and blue. (4th quarter starts at 0:59).
#2.) 2009 NBA Finals
The 2009 Finals was without a doubt Bryant’s best showing on the biggest stage.
He averaged a stellar 32.4 points, 7.4 assists and 5.6 rebounds during Los Angeles’ dismantling of Orlando.
Kobe put all of his attributes on display in what ended up being a career-defining series, and captured his first championship as the #1 option.
#1.) 81-point game
There’s usually at least one night in a legendary player’s career where everything he throws up at the rim goes in. Kobe Bryant had that game on January 22nd, 2006.
And when a natural scorer like Kobe finds his stroke the way he did that night, this is the result: