Kobe Bryant will close the book on his amazing career when he plays his final game on April 13. Before one of the best players of all time walks away from the court, here are 8 of Kobe’s greatest moments in the NBA. Click to watch.
It’s the end of an era as Kobe Bryant, 37 is about to retire from the NBA. The Los Angeles Lakers legend will hang up his jersey after his April 13 game with the Utah Jazz. Before he rides off into the sunset, take a look at some of the greatest moments of Kobe’s career.
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1. Winning the 1997 Slam Dunk Contest – as a rookie.
It didn’t take long for fans to notice that Kobe was something special. During the 1997 All-Star weekend, an 18-year-old Kobe announced his arrival by scoring 49 points in the Rookie Challenge. This victory would kick off a legendary career that resulted in five NBA championships, two Olympic gold medals and 18 trips to the NBA All-Star game.
2. Scoring a mind-blowing 81 points on a single game.
Right now, Wilt Chamberlain holds the record for most points scored in a single game with 100. The name right after Wilt’s? Kobe Bryant. During the complete obliteration of the Toronto Raptors in 2006, Kobe led the Lakers from an 18-point deficit to score an unbelievable 81 points by himself!
3. Breaking Michael Jordan’s record by scoring 61 points at MSG.
Three years after becoming the greatest scorer in the modern era, Kobe broke one of Michael Jordan’s, 53, records at the most famous arena in the world. While facing the New York Knicks in 2009, per Complex, Kobe shattered Jordan’s record for most points scored at MSG, making 61 points in a 126-117 victory.
4. The streak in 2003.
When Kobe was on fire, he was close to unstoppable. During February 2003, the Los Angeles Lakers averaged 40.6 points per game for an entire month, according to Uproxx. Plus, there was a streak of nine consecutive games where Kobe made 40 points – or more!
5. Kobe closes the door on Jordan’s career.
Michael Jordan was probably already making plans to retire for a second time when he and the Washington Wizards met Kobe’s Lakers in 2003. However, after Kobe put up 55 points on Air Jordan, it was clear that Michael’s time was over and it was now Kobe’s turn to rule the court.
6. Kobe becomes the youngest players to score 30,000 points.
Kobe’s ability to light up the scoreboard helped him make 30,000 points faster than any other player in history. After sixteen years in the NBA, Kobe made his 30,000th point during Dec. 2012, joining a club that includes legends like Jordan, Kareem-Abdul Jabbar, 68, Karl Malone, 52, and Wilt Chamberlain.
7. The Alley-Oop pass heard around the world.
Kobe was often criticized for hogging the ball, but he silenced these critics during Game 7 of the 2000 Western Conference Finals against the Portland Trailblazers, per High Snobiety. During a rally to victory, Kobe gave a massive alley-oop to his teammate (and frenemy) Shaquille O’Neal, 44. They would go on to win the championship that year.
8. Three-peating as NBA Champions from 2000 to 2002.
The 2016 L.A. Lakers are arguably the worst team in the league, but there was a time when they were invincible. Kobe’s squad won the NBA title three years in a row at the turn of the century, earning him three of his five Championship rings. Though he won’t play in the Finals this year, Kobe will always be known as a champion.
What was your favorite Kobe Bryant moment, HollywoodLifers?