A few members of the Society hop in the Lakers Lair to discuss their favorite games from Kobe Bryant. Lakers Lair is for Lakers fans, by Laker fans Martin Soaries, DJ Allen and B.J. Boyer. See what Black Mamba moments they remember most, and compare them to your favorite memories from KB24.
B.J. Boyer (@wcboyer24): Western Conference Finals Game 6 vs. Phoenix Suns. Kobe drops 37 and goes nuts down the stretch. May 29, 2010.
This series against Phoenix featured some of the best postseason basketball I’ve ever seen Kobe play, as he averaged 33.7 points, 8.3 assists and 7.2 rebounds per game on a robust 52% from the field and 43% from downtown. Bryant, who is often vilified for often falling on the wrong side of the efficiency ledger (a notion that is overblown in my opinion) was effective in every offensive facet of the game, powering the Lakers to a 4-2 series win.
In this game Bryant spazzed down the stretch, hitting some of the toughest shots you could imagine to secure the Western Conference crown and another Finals appearance. This was Kobe at his finest, a maniacal competitor that refused to be denied of another ring.
Martin Soaries (@marsoaries): Kobe’s 61-point game at Madison Square Garden. February 3, 2009.
Much like the 81-point game, the entire repertoire was on display. He went 20-20 from the free throw line and got 61 on 31 shots. The embodiment of a complete scorer. Even though he wasn’t the No. 8 cannon of his youth, this was the No. 24 Kobe that could still be a one-man wrecking crew. It was, for me, the most refined and polished version of Kobe.
Boyer: Kobe drops 52-points on the Mavericks. March 2, 2008
This game will always be cozily stowed in my Kobe Bryant memory bank, just because it came during his MVP season against a Mavericks team that many deemed as one of the Lakers’ greatest adversaries in the West. It took place on a Sunday on ABC, and Bryant torched the Mavericks for a 50-ball, unearthing a slew of maneuvers to stave Dallas off in overtime. The entire world got to gaze at Bryant’s brilliance, and it’s always sweet when Los Angeles get the best of Mark Cuban.
DJ Allen: (@DJAllen23): Kobe wins his fourth title against the Orlando Magic. June 14, 2009
Game 5 of the 2009 NBA Finals sticks out to me in the numerous highlights of Kobe’s career. It may not statistically be one of his best games but the meaning of it and the memories it brings to me makes it stick out in my mind. June 14th, 2009 Kobe won his first championship in the post-Shaq era. There was so much meaning in that chip. It was the rebirth of Kobe Bryant: older but wiser. So many said he couldn’t and wouldn’t win again and after the loss to the Boston Celtics in 2008, the yearning to get back was all so urgent. A 30-point performance with 5 assists and an incredible alteration floater around the length of Dwight Howard gave Kobe his fourth ring and had my head held high. After that chip, all Kobe Bryant slander was deceased. What else could you say?
Boyer: Kobe’s 60-point farewell. April 13, 2016.
Leading up to Kobe’s final NBA game, former Laker and current TNT analyst Shaquille O’Neal challenged Kobe to score 50 points in his last game. Kobe laughed, scoffing at the notion that his brittle body had another 50-point offering to enthrall the fans with.
Being the competitor he is, I knew that publicly Bryant may have dismissed Shaq’s request as wishful banter, but privately he’d take on O’Neal’s provocation and try to score 50, or at least come close.
Bryant exceeded all expectations, putting up 60 points in his adieu to the game of basketball. To me, it was touching to watch the likes of Jay-Z, Kanye West, David Beckham and Snoop Dogg marvel at one last vintage performance from the Black Mamba, all of them serenading him with their cheers and respects as he lifted the Lakers to victory one last time.