HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – One championship wasn’t enough for the Shaquille O’Neal-Kobe Bryant-led Los Angeles Lakers. After securing their first, topping the Indiana Pacers for the crown after the 1999-00 season, they ground up the competition on their way to their second straight title.
They lost just once, to Philadelphia in the NBA Finals, the entire postseason.
Bryant was just a pup then, 22 and five years into a stellar career with a penchant for the spectacular … which explains why so many Lakers fans gravitated to his electric game.
But make no mistake, he was absolutely fantastic during the regular season, averaging a then career-high 28.5 points per game. He took his game to another level in the playoffs, though, averaging 29.4 points, 7.3 rebounds and 6.1 assists (the latter two remain his playoff career highs).
Bryant’s highlights from the 2000-01 season rank among his finest to date, this is the ninth installment of our Kobe’s Top 10 Plays series. You owe it to yourself to take a look (with apologies to Bob Sura, Vlade Divac, Tyrone Hill, a young Dirk Nowitzki and all of Kobe’s other victims):
We will take another look at the Black Mamba’s Top 10 Plays every day until the 60th NBA All-Star Game, Feb. 20 at the Staples Center, where Bryant will be on center stage.
He’ll have to pull out some serious tricks to top what we’ve seen here, though.