To celebrate Kobe Bryant being elected to the Pro Basketball hall of fame, we’ve put together a list of his 5 greatest moments. It was an illustrious career and there were literally hundreds of moments that could’ve gone in this list. But here’s our take on one of the NBA’s greatest players.
No.5: Kobe Bryant is a warrior
In the game that would prove to be the beginning of the end for Kobe, he showed just how he managed to make it all the way to the top of the game. Down 109-107 to the Warriors, Kobe tore his Achilles tendon but stayed in the game to make two free throws to tie the game.
Bryant could barely walk off the court after making the free throws, a true sign of the champion and warrior he was. The Lakers would go on to win the game 118-116.
No.4: 81-point game against the Raptors
In a night for the ages, Kobe shot 28 of 46 from the field, going 7 for 13 from beyond the arc, 20 points from the line. It was an epic performance further enhanced by 6 rebounds, three two assists, and a block.
It’s the second-highest tally by a player in a single game in NBA history, and some would argue it was more impressive than Wilt Chamberlain’s record 100 point performance in the 1961-62 season. Either way, if you have 3 minutes you deserve to watch this.
No.3: Kobe Bryant leads Team USA to gold in 2008 Olympics
Having dominated in 1992 with the establishment of the Dream Team, winning by an average of 43.8 points, the USA had finished an unacceptable third in 2004. Kobe wasn’t having any of that and redoubled his efforts to reclaim Gold in Beijing.
Averaging 15 points, 2.8 rebounds, 2.1 assists, and 1.1 steals, Bryant led the US to an 8-0 Gold medal run. His leadership of a young group of players would prove pivotal as the USA regained their rightful place atop world basketball.
His work ethic, approach and how he appreciates the game is infectious. He’s someone who loves to play so much. He’s competitive when he steps in between those lines. He wants perfection.Kevin Durant after the 2008 Beijing Olympics
No.2: Kobe secures his fifth ring
Having won the 2009 NBA title against the Celtics, they would face their historic rivals one more time in 2010. It certainly wasn’t Kobe’s best finals series but he put on a complete performance in game 7 to secure his fifth-title.
Shooting just 6 of 24 from the field, and blanking on all 6 beyond the arc, Bryant shot 11 of 15 from the line and added 15 rebounds, 2 assists, and a steal. It was a gritty performance from Bryant, and one that showed just how bad he needed to win.
No.1: Kobe Bryant bids farewell to the NBA hanging 60 points on the Utah Jazz
In a fitting finale to an incredible career, Kobe once again showed the skills that made him one of the greatest ballers of all time. In front of a hometown crowd, The Mamba rolled back the years on 22 of 40 shooting from the field, 10 free throws, 4 assists, 1 steal, and 1 block.
He wasn’t able to roll out these performances very often during his last season, but he went to the well one last time.
As it’s not technically a basketball moment, we haven’t included Kobe Bryant’s oscar-winning short-film. But as a tribute to The Mamba we’ve included here.