Last January of this year, the whole world was shocked to the very core as we learned Kobe Bryant and her daughter Gianna, along with several others passed away in a helicopter crash.
The world mourned was we lost a global icon, and the cruel fact that his daughter, along with children and parents as well, was just too much for the world to handle.
Kobe Bryant is one of the greatest sports figures in the history of the world, and he will forever be missed.
Known for his “Mamba Mentality”, and fierce demeanor, he quickly established himself as one of the premier players in the NBA and did so for over twenty years.
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For today, we remember and honor his legacy by talking about THE TOP 5 KOBE BRYANT MOMENTS
#5 PUTTING ON A SHOW AGAINST MICHAEL JORDAN
We start off our list with a matchup that ended up becoming a symbolic passing of the guard between two of the greatest to ever play, Kobe Bryant and Michael Jordan.
It’s December 17, 1997, Kobe Bryant is 19 years old, on his second season that’s turning out to be a breakout one.
He is the designated sixth man of the Lakers, bringing them a high energy scoring punch off the bench, which would earn him a spot on the All-Star Team later that season, becoming the youngest voted All-Star in the history of the NBA.
Opposite Kobe Bryant, was Michael Jordan. Considered by many as the greatest basketball player of all time, and the final stretch of his career with the Chicago Bulls.
It ended up becoming one of the greatest duels of that season, as neither player gave an inch and they ended up putting on a show for fans in the United Center, and fans watching all around the world.
Michael Jordan was his usual brilliant self, with 36 points and 5 rebounds. But Kobe Bryant couldn’t miss the chance to steal the show from his idol, and put up 33 points of his own.
The matchup was definitely fun to watch, as Kobe Bryant mimicked the signature moves of Michael Jordan and used it against him. Throughout the game, you can actually see Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant talking to one another, including some on court banter between the two.
It would become a symbolic moment as Michael Jordan represented the old school while Kobe represented the new blood, and everything Michael Jordan represented, Kobe Bryant would carry on, and this moment is what started it all.
#4 KOBE TO SHAQ
At number four, we go back to Game 7 of the Western Conference Finals back in 2000.
The Lakers had the best record in the league, powered by the MVP, Shaquille O’Neal and the 21-year old All-Star guard, Kobe Bryant.
They were facing the Portland TrailBlazers in a grueling series. The Lakers had a 3-1 advantage to finish off the Blazers, but lost the last two games to put things at an even 3-3.
Game 7, the Lakers had a horrible start, as they couldn’t find their rhythm, while Portland came out guns blazing, no pun intended.
After three quarters, the Lakers were down by 15 points with a 73-58 score line. Many doubted the Lakers chances to pull back in the game, but Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal delivered a masterclass of a performance.
They were able to catch up to the Blazers in the fourth quarter, and a pair of Kobe Bryant free throws gave the Lakers an 81-79 lead over the Blazers with less than a minute and a half remaining.
After Rasheed Wallace missed two free throws after getting fouled, Kobe capitalized on the other end draining a jumper to give the Lakers a four-point lead.
They secured a defensive stop on the other end, and Kobe Bryant had the ball in his hands, on offense, he would drive that caused the Portland defense to collapse, leaving him to lob it to an open Shaquille O’Neal who threw it down with a thunderous dunk.
That alley-oop play is considered one of the greatest plays in NBA history. The Lakers ended up winning the game, which brought them back to the NBA Finals, which they eventually won, ending a 12-year title drought for the Lakers.
#3 81-POINT GAME
At number three we have the second greatest scoring performance in NBA history.
The 2005-2006 season is Kobe Bryant’s best statistical season of all time. Which was probably the only bright side in the Lakers mediocre season.
Watching Kobe Bryant was a treat for Lakers fans and NBA fans, as despite the lack of talent surrounding him, Kobe Bryant proved time and time again why he was the best player in the NBA at that time.
A perfect example came on January 22, 2006, as the Lakers were at home facing the Toronto Raptors.
Nobody expected what would happen, as Kobe Bryant on that day, went absolutely bananas as he delivered a Lakers win in stunning fashion.
Trailing by 14 points at halftime, and even reaching up to 25 points, Kobe Bryant single handedly pushed a Lakers comeback by scoring an amazing 81 points for the game.
He broke the record for most points scored by a Laker, beating out Elgin Baylor’s 71, and his scoring performance is only second to Wilt Chamberlain’s 100-point game.
What made this performance special, was that Bryant made most of his shots from the outside, and these were some heavily contested shots, and he wasn’t stat padding either, as he brought the Lakers back from the dead and ended up winning the game.
It was this moment that the whole world knew, that Kobe Bryant was just on another level.
#2 WINNING AN OSCAR
At number two we have Kobe dominating a new industry, as he bagged his Oscar win back in 2018.
After two years of retirement, Kobe took home one of the biggest honors in the entertainment industry.
Based on, Dear Basketball the poem he wrote when he announced his retirement in 2016, Kobe Bryant then collaborated with Director Glen Keane as they made an animated short film.
Naturally, being the winner Kobe is, Dear Basketball won the Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film.
Glen Keane’s acceptance speech perfectly summed up what Kobe Bryant is all about.
He said, “It’s a message for all of us, Whatever form your dream may take, it’s through passion and perseverance that the impossible is possible”.
Kobe Bryant remains the only former professional athlete to win an Oscar.
#1 WINNING THE FIFTH CHAMPIONSHIP
Capping off our list, is the probably Kobe Bryant’s finest hour on a basketball court.
Back in 2008, the Lakers and Celtics reignited their historic rivalry in the NBA Finals, with Celtics coming out on top winning the series 4-2.
Bryant and the rest of the Lakers would see the finals loss as a learning experience and motivation for the next season.
And nobody was more motivated than Kobe Bryant. The Lakers started the next season on fire, as they steamrolled through the rest of the league.
To make a point, the Lakers won both games against the Boston Celtics in the regular season.
As the playoffs started, the Lakers looked like the early favorites, and it was because of the determined play of their leader, Kobe Bryant.
The Lakers ended up meeting the Orlando Magic in the NBA finals in 2009.
The Lakers easily won the series 4-1 and none other than Kobe Bryant was named the Finals MVP.
However, Bryant being the obsessive winner he is, he still needed to exact revenge on the team that defeated him a year prior.
In 2010, he got his wish, as the Lakers would again meet the Celtics in a rematch of their 2008 showdown.
The series was tough from the get go, as nobody from either team was willing to give an inch. Despite the spectacular play of Bryant and his teammates, the Celtics were a formidable foe, and through 5 games, they took a 3-2 series lead.
Bryant responded the only way he knew how, by performing at the highest level possible showing the world how great he truly is.
The Lakers bounced back from a 3-2 deficit and ended up winning the series in 7 games. Kobe Bryant was again named finals MVP, and he won his fifth championship and 16th overall for the Lakers.
Of all the legendary moments Kobe Bryant has, this definitely takes the cake, as he has said many times before, there is nothing more important in the NBA, than winning championships.
What other Kobe Bryant moments could have made the list? Which one was your favorite part?
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