Kobe Bryant’s Most Memorable Moments

It’s roughly four months until the best players in the NBA battle it out to get their hands on a Championship ring, the NBA lines suggest the Los Angeles Clippers and the Cleveland Cavaliers are the form teams right now but will that carry on until May and June? Who knows? Instead of getting involved in all that predictions nonsense, we have instead decided to look backwards rather than forwards.

This time at the career of Kobe Bryant, in particular looking at some of his best and most memorable moments from his long and illustrious career. If you’re a big fan of Bryant, read on to take an emotional trip down a nostalgia laden memory lane…

Phil Jackson

Every superstar has his origin story and those little moments of luck or fate that help mould them into elite performers. For Kobe Bryant the first time that he felt the heavy hand of fate on his shoulder was when six-time Championship winning Coach Phil Jackson took over as Lakers coach in 1999.

The former Chicago Bulls man recognised the talent in his team, knew that the media had dubbed Kobe the next Michael Jordan and put a plan in place to help the youngster live up to that billing. Deploying a triangle offense, Jackson was able to get the best out of both Bryant and another young, up and coming player Shaquille O’Neal.

Both Bryant and O’Neal were pivotal in the NBA Finals against the Indiana Pacers and combined memorably in the Game 4 OT victory that set them well on the way to the Lakers first Championship win of a memorable three-peat.

(The origin story of two greats of the game.)

Phil Jackson II

In sport nothing is as simple as it seems. On paper the greatest coach in the NBA moved on from coaching the greatest player in the history of the NBA to his potential successor and, on the face of it, everything look rosy in the Garden of Eden.

A revelation made by Jackson in his book The Last Season: A Team in Search of Its Soul in which he called Bryant “uncoachable” proved it was less the Garden of Eden and more the Land of Nod. Then in the 2005-06 season Jackson returned to coach the Lakers and Bryant’s career faced a crossroads – let his feud with his former coach simmer on and effect his career or use it as motivation.

Fortunately for the Lakers and lovers of basketball Bryant chose the latter option, posting phenomenal stats as he led his team back to the playoffs. In one game against the Mavericks, Bryant outscored the entire opposition 62-21 in the final three quarters.

Barely a month later he scored 81 points in a 122-104 victory over the Toronto Raptors, creating the majority of shots by himself. Whilst his performances didn’t result in an NBA Championship they did gain him a host of broken records and personal accolades.

(The nichest of niche references… “81 points Jeremy! That’s insane!”)

The Comeback

Pain and suffering are necessary components of human life. Sure, they certainly aren’t enjoyable but without them we wouldn’t be able to savour their polar opposites – joy and happiness – as much as we do.

That was certainly true for Kobe Bryant. Despite proving himself to be a colossus of the game in the mid-2000s Bryant’s team always seemed to come up short when it really mattered. There was the 126-118 loss in OT to the Phoenix Suns and the first round loss to the same opponent in 2007

(Highlights from Kobe’s performances in the 2010 NBA Finals.)

Those moments are what made the 2009 5 game victory over the Orlando Magic and the accompanying NBA Finals MVP trophy so sweet. Not to forget the gripping 4-3 win over the Boston Celtics in the following year.

Ultimately that was to be the last NBA Championship ring of Bryant’s career. A career that encompassed 33,643 points at an average of 25 per game, 7,047 rebounds and 6.306 assists. A career of a legend, an icon and an all-time great. 

Rest in Peace Kobe Bryant 1978 – 2020.

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