It’s been 60 days since Kobe scored 60 points in his last game of his career. An incredible performance; maybe the best exiting performance in NBA history. It is just one of the many memories that Kobe leaves us with. In honor of Kobe’s 60 point farewell, and on the 60th day since, let’s take a look at some of his most memorable moments. I wish I could do 60, lord know’s there is much more than 60, but for the sake of keeping the article short, I will keep it to 8, in honor of vintage Kobe. (In no particular order).
1. Kobe welcomes Dwight to the league
Kobe has had his fair share of poster dunks in his career, but none of them standout like his iconic dunk on Dwight Howard. 6 games into Dwight’s career, Kobe threw down one of the greatest poster’s of all-time… Perhaps Dwight never forgave him.
2. The 05-06 season
Kobe was determined to prove that he could create his own legacy without Shaquille O’neal, and just one season after Shaq’s departure from the Lakers Kobe had arguably his best season. He averaged 35.4 ppg, 5.3 rpg, 4.5 apg, nearly 2 spg, and led a below average supporting cast to the 7th seed in the playoffs; where the Lakers would face MVP Steve Nash and the Phoenix Suns. Kobe led the Lakers to a 3-1 lead in the series, including the iconic game 4 in which Kobe tied the game, sending it into over-time, and then hit the game winner in over-time.
They battled the Phoenix Suns, only to lose their 3-1 lead to Nash and company. Despite the disappointing end to the season in the first round, it was a miracle they even won 3 games in the series. Kobe literally put the Laker’s on his back in the 05-06 season.
3. Kobe breaks the 3 pt. record
On January 7th, 2003, a 24 year old Kobe did the unthinkable. Facing the Seattle Super Sonics, Kobe started the game by making his first 9 three point attempts! He would finish the game 12-18 from behind the arch, finishing with 45 points, and the NBA record for most made three’s in a game.
4. 1997 Dunk Contest
Kobe gets a lot of flack for his obvious attempts to imitate Jordan, down to the “tongue wag”, and one of the biggest steps he took in his mission to be Jordan, was winning the 97′ Dunk Contest in his inaugural season.
5. 2008-2010 seasons; Kobe goes back-to-back
In these three years Kobe led the Laker’s to 3 straight Finals, and he did so without Shaq. He lost in 08′ to the Celtics Big 3 of Ray Allen, Kevin Garnett, and Paul Pierce; but would win the Finals the next two seasons, getting his revenge on the Celtics in 2010. His back-to-back Finals victories silenced his critics, and proved that he could win without Shaq.
6. 81 points
On January 22, 2006 we saw Kobe at his absolute best. Down 63-49 at half-time with only 26 points, Kobe would absolutely explode in the second half scoring 55 points. It was the 3rd greatest scoring performance of all time, made even more impressive due to the fact that Kobe was a jump shooter. Most of Wilt’s were in the paint.
7. Kobe & Shaq 3 peat. 2000-2002
It was clear that the Laker’s were shaq’s team at this stage in Kobe’s career, Shaq was at his peak, and was MVP of all 3 of their NBA Finals victories, but that doesn’t mean that Kobe didn’t separate himself from the pack. He averaged 26 ppg in the playoffs in those three years, truly showing that he could be a superstar in the league. The amount of great moments these two had in the playoffs are uncountable, but the 3 peat says it all. It was just another thing that Kobe could add to his list of Jordan like accomplishments.
8. Kobe passes Jordan on the All-Time Scoring List
On Dec 14, 2014 against the Minnesota Timberwolves, Kobe sunk a free throw to tie Jordan in scoring, and then sank another to pass him. It was a great moment for Kobe, as he became 3rd all time on the scoring list, and passed his idol that he had worked so hard to be. Kobe finished his career with 33,643 points, as one of the best scorers of all-time, and easily the second best SG to play the game.
Thanks for the memories Kobe!