The Black Mamba.
The Purple and Gold Legend.
Over his 20 year career Kobe has amassed a number of milestones. He has given his life to basketball and the Los Angeles Lakers. With his last game to be played against the Memphis Grizzlies tomorrow, we take a look at the Mamba’s 8 most memorable moments in the NBA.
8. Two free throws with a torn Achilles.
Date: April 12, 2013
A moment that epitomises Kobe’s competitive spirit. At the end of the 2012-13 NBA regular season Bryant was still playing at an elite level. In the second last game of the season Kobe went down with a torn Achilles. With visible pain and little movement Kobe limped to the free throw line and buried two clutch free throws for his team. Despite this being the beginning of the end for the Mamba, he fought to the end.
7. The Alley-oop to Shaq
Date: June 4, 2000
A moment etched in Laker history, Kobe led a fourth quarter comeback against the Portland Trail Blazers capped off by this iconic play. This play ignited the Lakers championship run and the dynamic duo of Shaq and Kobe was born.
As the G.O.A.T’s (Michael Jordan) career was winding down, we wondered if we would ever see someone come close to Jordan. A young Lakers shooting guard had been doing big things in the league but it wasn’t until a game between, the Lakers and the Wizards, which saw Kobe drop 55 points on the 40 year old Jordan that fans realised the torch was being passed on.
5. Four Consecutive 50 point games
Date: March, 2007
In an outrageous scoring year for Kobe, the Mamba scored over 50 points four games in a row. Scoring 65 points against the Trail Blazers, 50 against Minnesota, 60 against Memphis and 50 at New Orleans.
4. The Dark Mark
Date: July, 2003
The black spot in the otherwise remarkable career of Kobe Bryant. In July 2003 Kobe was charged with allegedly raping a young woman in Eagle, Colorado. Had he been convicted Kobe faced up to life in prison. Eventually the case against him was dropped when the accuser decided not to testify. Kobe later settled a civil lawsuit with his accuser for an undisclosed amount of money and released a remarkable apology.
3. Re-igniting the Lakers and Celtics Rivalry
Date: 2008 – 2012
With Boston becoming a threat in the east (on the back of a new big three Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen), Kobe and the lakers brought the Celtics-Lakers rivalry to a new generation. 2008 saw Kobe lose the NBA Championship to a strong Celtics squad. The loss hurt Kobe, but he got his revenge in 2010 winning the championship in a game 7 showdown against the Celtics. He was awarded with the finals MVP after averaging 28.6 points.
The world has poured in tribute videos and messages to the Legendary Laker. Every team has shown off his best moments and thanked him for his contributions to the game. Both current and past players have given their appreciation for the milestones Kobe has achieved over his career. Perhaps the most powerful tribute coming from Compton rapper Kendrick Lamar.
1. The 81 point game
Date: January 22, 2006
The Black Mamba struck blow after blow, shot after shot. Kobe became only the second player behind Wilt Chamberlain to eclipse the 80 point mark. Dominant and relentless are the words that come to mind when watching this unbelievable scoring performance. This game cemented Kobe in the history books, inspired kids around the world and assured his entrance into the NBA Hall of Fame.
Did you agree with our list? What are your favourite Kobe moments?