With two more championships in 2009 and 2010, Kobe has tied Magic Johnson with five and sits one away from tying Michael Jordan. He now sits sixth on the All-Time scoring list behind former teammate Shaquille O’Neal. By the end of the 2011-2012 season, he could become the youngest player in NBA history to reach 30,000 career points.
In the mean time all we can do is sit back, relax and enjoy the ride…
3) February 2, 2009 vs. New York Knicks, Madison Square Garden
When the New York Knicks looked up at their schedule for the week of February 2nd, they had to know they were going to be in for a rough stretch. Three home games–Lakers, Cavaliers, and Celtics–all in the course of five days.
The Knicks referred the five-day stretch as “Dream Week.”
They never seemed to wake up from that dream as Kobe and the Lakers rolled into town leaving a mark great enough for the history books. Kobe Bryant broke a Madison Square Garden record after scoring 61 points in the World’s Most Famous Arena at the Mecca of the basketball world.
The previous record for an opposing player was held by arguably the greatest player in NBA history Michael Jordan who dropped 55 points at MSG, famously referred to as the “double-nickel” game. Former Knicks guard Bernard King scored 60 points on Christmas Day in 1984. But with two free throws with 2:33 minutes remaining, Kobe jumped to the top of the list for the greatest scoring outburst for either team at Madison Square Garden.
Kobe’s final stat line: 61 points, 3 assists, 1 block, 19-31 FG, 3-6 3pt FG, 20-20 FT
2) Six Game Winners
In the 2009-2010 NBA season, we all witnessed Kobe Bryant go on a streak that seemed like 50 game-winners. While it wasn’t quite that much, the feat was still remarkable nonetheless.
Starting off his series of game winners with an impossible fading three-point bank shot with a hand in his face courtesy of Dwayne Wade, Kobe went on to finish out the season with a total of six game winning jumpers leading the Los Angeles Lakers to a 57-25 overall record placing them atop the Western Conference heading into the playoffs.
1) 2009 NBA Finals vs. Orlando Magic
Number four. The first one without Shaq.
In the 2009 NBA Finals, Kobe was able to quiet all the naysayers who believed he could never win a championship without former teammate Shaquille O’Neal who had just won a title of his own with the Miami Heat in 2006. From the jump, Kobe expressed his championship ambitions going for a near triple-double scoring 40 points to go along with eight boards and eight assists in a 100-75 Game 1 blowout.
Kobe kept up his high level of play the entire series averaging 32.4 points, 7.4 assists, 5.6 rebounds, 1.4 steals, and 1.4 blocks on his way to his first NBA Finals MVP trophy. With that, he became the first player since former Laker legend and NBA logo Jerry West in 1969 to average at least 32.4 points and 7.4 assists in a finals series. He also became the first player since Michael Jordan in 1998 to average 30 points, five rebounds and five assists for a title-winning team in the finals.
2009 NBA All Star Game, U.S. Airways Center
After 5 years, Kobe Bryant found himself wearing the same uniform as former teammate Shaquille O’Neal at the 2009 NBA All Star Game. To top off the nostalgia of the moment, the two were once again being coached by former Lakers head coach Phil Jackson who coached the duo to their first three championships.
At the end of the night, both Kobe and Shaq were awarded with the MVP trophy–the third time for each of them.
Kobe’s final stat line: 27 points, 4 rebounds, 4 assists, 4 steals, 12-23 FG, 3-8 3pt FG
2011 NBA All Star Game, Staples Center
Kobe Bryant tied Hall Fame forward and Celtics great Bob Petit for the most All Star Game MVP awards with his fourth following last year’s festivities in LA. Kobe also tied Celtics forward Kevin Garnett for fourth place on the list of highest scoring outbursts in an All Star Game.
Kobe’s final stat line: 37 points, 14 rebounds, 3 assists, 3 steals, 14-26 FG, 2-7 3pt FG, 7-8 FT