Kobe Bryant was one of the NBA’s greatest stars. His drive and hunger for success was something special and reminiscent of Michael Jordan (Bryant’s idol). Bryant’s birthday was on Tuesday and today is known as Kobe Bryant (or Black Mamba) Day due to it being August 24 (or simply 8/24).
Bryant had an illustrious career with many accolades. He also had several incredible games that are still talked about to this day. They were performances of a lifetime, and what better day than today to reminisce on some of them.
Here are five legendary games from Kobe Bryant.
1.) 81 Points Against the Toronto Raptors, 2006
Bryant was a remarkable scorer, and a game like his 81-point performance against the Raptors proves it. He was nearly unstoppable in this game, and it was his performance that helped the Lakers secure the 122-104 win.
The Lakers were down by 18 in the third quarter, which led to Bryant taking over the game. He went on to score 27 in that quarter and 28 in the fourth. This was the second-highest point total in a half in NBA history behind Chamberlain’s 59-point second half in his 100-point game. This game also remains the second-highest single-game scoring performance behind Chamberlain’s 100.
This was a game you had to see to believe. Bryant showed what he can do and as always, this remains one of the greatest performances of all-time.
2.) 65 Points Against the Portland Trail Blazers, 2007
Bryant had another stellar performance in 2007, and this one helped snap the Lakers get past a seven-game losing streak. He finished the game with 65 points and made an impressive eight 3-pointers. Bryant scored 24 of his 65 points in the fourth quarter of this game, and in overtime he added another nine.
The Lakers needed Bryant and he delivered. He put on a show and snapped the losing streak with an 116-111 win. It does not get much better than that.
3.) 62 Points Against the Dallas Mavericks, 2005
Before his 65 and 81 point games, Bryant had another great performance against the Mavericks. This was an interesting game as he scored 62 points in three quarters. He was frustrated coming off a loss to the Houston Rockets and told the media he “was going to will us (the Lakers) to victory.”
Bryant scored 15 points in the first quarter and 17 in the second. He went on to score 30 in the third to get his (then) career-high 62. This was interesting as Bryant literally outscored the whole Dallas Mavericks team by the end of the third quarter. The Mavericks had 61 points at the end of the third compared to Bryant’s 62.
Bryant’s 62-point game was special, and it makes you wonder what would have happened if he played in the fourth.
4.) 61 Points Against the New York Knicks, 2009
Madison Square Garden is often called the “Mecca of Basketball,” and throughout the years, superstars have done incredible things there. And Bryant was no exception. Bryant scored 61 points in a 126-117 win over the Knicks. This game from Bryant was the highest single-game point total in Madison Square Garden until Carmelo Anthony broke the record in 2014. Having a great game at MSG is special and yet another accolade under Bryant’s belt.
5.) 60 Points Against the Utah Jazz, 2016
Bryant ended his career with a bang as he scored 60 in the final game of his career. He scored 23 points in the fourth quarter and attempted a career-high 50 shots in the game. It was the ideal ending to Bryant’s career, and the world watched in awe one last time. And once the game came to an end, Bryant uttered the famous words, “Mamba out.”
Bryant had an incredible career and as time goes on, fans will forever remember the “Black Mamba.”