Kobe Bryant’s Most Memorable Moments (Part 1)
To celebrate Kobe’s 35th birthday, we have put together a list of The Mamba’s 35 most memorable moments since he entered the NBA. This is quite a big list, so let’s stop wasting time and get right into it!
35. Kobe Skips College and Jumps head first into the NBA
At only 17 years of age, Kobe enters the league. He was the first guard to do so, and by making it look so easy and a natural transition, started a trend of high schoolers believing they were ready for Association.
34. Kobe’s Legendary Facial Dunks
Ranging from Yao, to Howard, to Ben Wallace, to Emeka Okafor, to Steve Nash, nobody was safe from being absolutely destroyed by Kobe when attacked the rim.
33. Lakers acquire Pau Gasol; Kobe teaches him how to be a winner
With Kobe putting up incredible numbers, the Lakers needed to surround him with a better supporting cast. Pau Gasol was considered talented, but had never won a playoff game before joining the Lakers. Kobe would take him under his wing and turn him into one of the very best offensive post players in the league.
32. Kobe’s Clutch Rainbow Fadeaway over Lebron in Cleveland
In 2009, the basketball world was screaming out for a Lakers vs Cavaliers NBA finals primarily to see a Kobe and Lebron duel. The Lakers rolled through the West whilst Cleveland choked against Orlando, and all we were left with was this incredible fadeaway over Lebron in the regular season
31. Kobe sets the All Star Game scoring record
This record was really no surprise when it broke due to Kobe’s competitive nature, but that doesn’t reduce how impressive it is. Think back to all the great scorers this league has seen, from Jordan, to Kareem, to Wilt, and Kobe is ahead of all them in terms of scoring in All Star games.
30. Kobe Blocks Lebron (twice)
It wasn’t just about scoring at the ASG for Bryant. Who will ever forget these two blocks and the message that was sent with them?
29. Kobe drops 30 points in a quarter on Utah
For 99.9% of anyone else that has played in the NBA, this would be a top 5 moment for them. For Kobe, however, it barely made his list. Absolutely incredible.
28. “The Colorado Game”
After spending a day in court, Kobe returned to L.A. to score 42 points against San Antonio in game 4 of their playoff series.
27. Shaq and Kobe reunite for one game
After the well documented and messy breakup that culminated in Shaq being traded to Miami, the next (and only) time Shaq and Kobe would play together was when they shared the All Star game MVP. It also served as a reminder of how good this duo could have been had they not been broken up prematurely.
26. Kobe vs. Toronto (2013)
25. Shaq vs. Kobe feud.
I hate to harp on this as both of them have moved on, but it has to be acknowledged. Despite all the hype and marketing associated with this topic, there was some serious resentment between the two during the Lake Show era.
24. Kobe sets scoring record at MSG
Kobe lights up New York City and sets a new scoring record at the Mecca of basketball.
23. Kobe scores 33 points in 2nd half against Orlando
In Shaq’s first game back in Orlando, and the Magic dominating, a 20 year old Kobe Bryant steps up and scores 33 points in the second half and leads them to a memorable victory on national television.
22. Kobe’s two clutch shots against Phoenix in 2006
At the peak of the Suns/ Lakers rivalry, Kobe makes two unforgettable shots to give L.A. a 3-1 lead in the series
21. Kobe wins All Star game MVP in Philly
After beating the 76ers in the NBA finals the year before, Kobe dominates the All Star game and captures the MVP honours. The Philly crowd boo’s him relentlessly.
20. Kobe sets 3 point record
Kobe drills 12 3’s (including 9 straight without miss) against Gary Payton and the Sonics
19. Kobe’s first All Star Game
Despite not even being a starter on his own team, Kobe was selected by the fans to start and matchup against Jordan in New York City. MJ won MVP honours, but Kobe captured the imagination of all those that watched him.
18. Kobe Changes his number
A totally symbolic move, but memorable in the sense that it has helped define two era’s for Kobe: One with Shaq, and one with Pau
17. Kobe receiving MVP chants in opposing cities
The appreciation Kobe for his greatness by opposing fans is fairly unique. Occasionally fans will recognise a great performance, but MVP chants in heated rival cities like Boston, New York and Sacramento? Simply awesome.