Yesterday, Kobe Bryant surpassed Michael Jordan’s milestone for being the 3rd highest scorer in NBA history.
To celebrate this remarkable achievement, we reminiscence on the greatest events of scoring in Kobe Bryant’s career.
For Kobe Bryant in particular, he has had some unparalleled scoring sprees in his career that really showcase the type of scoring befitting a scorer at the highest level.
One Game Sprees – 81 points and 62 Points in Three Quarters – 2005 – 2006 Season
On December 20th, 2005, Kobe Bryant shocked the world when he hanged 62 points on the Dallas Mavericks in just three quarters of play. To score 62 points is already a monumental achievement indicative of an incredibly gifted scorer. Just as a fun fact, 22 different players in NBA history have completed the feat of scoring 60 or more points, and only four players have scored 60 or more points on more than one occasion(Kobe included). But the fact that Kobe sat out the final quarter left some wondering, “How far could he go? How much would he have really score if he had played the full game?” Could he possibly challenge Wilt Chamberlain’s golden record of 100 points?
Well, the answer to these questions were answered just a month later, when in four quarters of play, Kobe Bryant shot 28/46 from the field, 7/13 from three, and 18/20 from the free throw line to total 81 points against the Toronto Raptors on January 22, 2006.
You can relive Kobe’s ’81’ with the video below. This is the second highest single-game total in NBA history.
9 Straights Game of 40+, or 13 Games of 35+(Take your pick) – 2002-2003 Season
In a span of 17 days from February 6th, 2002 to February 23rd, 2002, Kobe Bryant was in the zone like the league had never seen before, with an output of over 40 points each game(starting January 29th if you’re counting 35+).
Again this feat has only been accomplished by the top scoring machine in NBA history – Wilt Chamberlain, and the greatest player in NBA history – Michael Jordan.
You can relive Kobe’s 40 point game streak here.
4 Straight Games of 50+, Including two that are 60+ – 2006-2007 Season
To truly understand the greatness of this streak, you have to remember how hard scoring 50+ is in and of itself, as well the situation of the Lakers at the time. Firstly, the act of scoring 50+ only happens once or twice a year, and is usually the highest scoring output of the entire season. And as we mentioned before, 60 points is even rarer. Secondly, the Lakers at were in a bit of a slump, having lost seven games in a row. With a record 33-32, they were barely above .500, and fans were worrying that they’d miss the playoffs, while the general perception of the league was that they were going downhill.
Then this happened: four straight games where Kobe scores 65, 50, 60, 50, and most importantly, four straight wins for the Lakers. And it’s worth noting that Kobe “only” scored 43 points in the game the streak was snapped, and he hit 50+ again two games later.
You can catch Kobe’s third in the string of four games below.