With Kobe Bryant lacing up his Nike’s for the final time, the world is in full blown reminisce mode. Understandably so, as the legendary Los Angeles Lakers guard is a five time NBA champion, and easily one of the 10 best to ever play the game. After 20 seasons in the NBA, you could spend an entire day watching Kobe highlights. Game winner after clutch three after All-NBA defensive lock downs, Kobe Bryant will go down as one of the most watchable players of all time.
Bryant entered the NBA directly from high school, and he has played for the Lakers his entire career, winning five NBA championships. Bryant is an 18-time All-Star, 15-time member of the All-NBA Team, and 12-time member of the All-Defensive team. He has led the league in scoring twice, and he ranks third on both the league’s all-time regular season scoring and all-time postseason scoring lists. After beginning his 20th season with the Lakers in 2015–16, which set an NBA record for the most seasons with the same team, Bryant announced that he would retire after the season.
So, without further ado, after extensive Youtube research, I tried to find the 10 best moments of The Black Mamba’s career.
January 31, 2010: Kobe Hits a Game Winner Against The Celtics, Who They Would Later Beat In The Finals
With 7.3 ticks left on the clock, Kobe drilled a game winner over Ray Allen and the defending champion Celtics. The Lakers would later go on to win the NBA Finals against Allen, Pierce, and Garnett’s Celtics.
December 4, 2009: Bryant For Three Over D-Wade
One of the more ridiculous, and memorable, game winners Kobe has ever hit, he essentially just flung this one up there, and in traditional Kobe fashion, drilled it. Right over Dwayne Wade, no less.
January 12, 2006: Kobe Hits A Game Winner Over Lebron
The 2005-06 season wasn’t a particularly great for the Lakers, but it was a hell of a season for Kobe, who was in his physical prime, averaging a mind blowing 35.4 points per game. In the final 60 seconds of the game, Kobe hit three straight jumpers over Lebron, who was also averaging a career high 31.4 points per game, including the game winning dagger with 8.6 seconds left to play. The game would end with a Lebron miss, with of course Kobe playing defense.
December 19, 2003: Kobe Comes Off The Bench, Hits Game Winner
After spending the day in a Colorado court room, Kobe arrived at the game with four minutes remaining in the first quarter. This would be the first time he came off the bench since 1999. After an unusually quiet game, Kobe drilled a game winner as the clock hit zero, ending one of the worst days of his life as only Kobe could.
April 14, 2004: Kobe Hits Two Buzzer Beaters To Win The Pacific Division Title
One game away from winning the Pacific Division title, the Lakers faced the Portland Trailblazers. After hitting a three to send the game into overtime, Kobe would hit another three to win the game, sending the Lakers into the playoffs as Pacific Divison champions.
June 18, 2000: Young Kobe In The Finals Against The Pacers
Then 21, Kobe Bryant still hadn’t become the Black Mamba we all know and love today. Shaq was dominating, with 36 points and 21 rebounds, but fouled out with 2:33 left in overtime. From there on, it was Kobe time. On the next two possessions, Kobe hit two long jumpers go give the Lakers the lead, which they would hold on to for the rest of the game.
June 8, 2004: Kobe and Shaq’s Last Finals Together
Although the Lakers would go on to eventually lose this series, this Kobe dagger tied the series at 1-1, giving the Lakers a shot against the Detroit Pistons. With 2.1 seconds left, Kobe drilled a three from way behind the three point line, right over Rip Hamilton.
April 30, 2006: The Iconic Kobe Fist Pump
Is this the most famous shot Kobe has ever hit? I think so. You will never see a highlight video of his that doesn’t have a clip of this fist pump in it. Thing of absolute beauty.
May 12, 2002: Kobe Against His Arch Rival Spurs
If there is a player of the last generation who is Kobe’s equal, it is Tim Duncan. With the same amount of rings as Kobe, and every bit of longevity, Duncan’s Spurs were always a thorn in Kobe’s side. However on this night, in the Western Conference Playoffs, Kobe would have the advantage.With 5.1 seconds left, Kobe put the Lakers up 87-85, and extend the Lakers road winning streak to 11 games.
January 22, 2006: Kobe’s 81 Point Game
There’s nothing to say. Just watch.
Bonus: Every Game Winner Kobe Has Ever Hit