Blogtable: Favorite Kobe moment?

Each week, we’ll ask our stable of scribes across the globe to weigh in on the most important NBA topics of the day — and then give you a chance to step on the scale, too, in the comments below.


BLOGTABLE: Favorite Kobe moment? | Should Kobe do Rio? | Greatest Kobe feat? | Greatest Laker ever?



VIDEOKobe Bryant’s career top 10 plays

Kobe Bryant turns 37 Sunday and is heading into what could be his final NBA season.  What is your all-time favorite Kobe moment?

Steve Aschburner, NBA.com“Favorite” unshackles this from any requirement that it be an “important” moment, so Bryant’s 81-point performance against Toronto on Jan. 22, 2006 would seem an easy choice. But I’d be lying because I didn’t see that game – I was covering the big clash that day between mediocre Philadelphia and middling Minnesota that Andre Iguodala won at the buzzer in Minneapolis. I only could watch highlights of Kobe’s explosion the next morning, and watching a succession of scoring plays in replay captures none of the excitement they pack live. So I’m split between Bill Russell handing Bryant his first Finals MVP trophy in 2009 and the precocious 1998 Bryant waving off Karl Malone from an attempted pick-and-roll in the All-Star Game so he could square up against Michael Jordan.


VIDEO: Kobe Bryant accepts the 2009 Finals MVP trophy

Fran Blinebury, NBA.comWhile it’s tempting and certainly valid to say Kobe scoring 81 on the Raptors, I’m going with Aug. 24, 2008. That’s the night at the Beijing Olympics when Kobe and Dwyane Wade led the USA Redeem Team to the gold medal. Bryant was a hungry, fierce, driven leader all through the campaign to put the U.S. back on top of the basketball world and he hit big buckets down the stretch to seal the gold medal. I was in the building and the feeling of accomplishment was palpable and probably as satisfying to Kobe as any of his five NBA titles.

Scott Howard-Cooper, NBA.comPicking 10 favorites would be hard enough, let alone a single all-timer, and this is No. 1 for the moment because there will be more candidates to come. But if I have to choose one, let’s go with April 12, 1997, at Utah. (So many historic Laker moments intersected with Salt Lake City and the Jazz.) A rookie Kobe Bryant air-balled four shots late in the fourth quarter and into overtime of Game 5 of the West semifinals of the playoffs. Those misses, one brick after another, clinched the Lakers’ 98-93 OT loss as Utah won the series 4-1. And he was unfazed. Bryant did not flinch, not when he got the ball as the bad misses piled up and not in the visitor’s locker room afterward as he faced the media scrutiny. It may not have been the indication of what was to come on the court, but that was the clear preview of the future of the Black Mamba personality. He would back down from nothing and nobody.

Shaun Powell, NBA.comThis isn’t the 81 points or a playoff moment or a Finals moment. But on the final regular-season game in 2003-04 (against the Portland Trail Blazers), Kobe made a pair of hellacious buzzer-beating 3-pointers that defy logic (they’re plays No. 2 and No. 1 here). The first happened at the end of regulation at the top of the key with Ruben Patterson (the Kobe Stopper) painted all over him. The second was at the end of the second overtime, when Kobe took an inbounds pass with one second left and turned almost completely around and splashed. He ran off the court and was hugged by Shaq, the last time that happened.


VIDEO: Relive Kobe Bryant’s best plays from the 2003-04 season

John Schuhmann, NBA.com: Bryant didn’t play great for most of the 2008 Olympics. LeBron James and Dwyane Wade did the heavy lifting for the U.S. through the first 7 1/2 games in Beijing, with Bryant often showing some frustration with his shooting struggles. But when things were tight down the stretch of the gold medal game against Spain, he hit the two biggest shots for the Americans, including the four-point play that essentially put them on the top of the medal stand. Considering the stakes, that was maybe the best game I’ve seen in person, and Bryant backed up his rep as the best closer in the game.

Sekou Smith, NBA.comThere are so many it’s hard to choose just one. But the 2003 All-Star Game at Philips Arena comes to mind because it illustrated to me what sort of a cut-throat competitor Kobe really was. It was supposed to be a celebratory send off for Michael Jordan, his final All-Star Game appearance and a chance to all of the current stars to bow down one last time to the G.O.A.T. Vince Carter gave up his spot in the Eastern Conference starting lineup and East coach Isiah Thomas had instructed his guys to show MJ the respect he deserved. Kobe, of course, ignored the memo. He wasn’t having it. He went at MJ like it was Game 7 of The Finals and didn’t let up, including knocking down two free throws to tie the game and send it into double-overtime (after Jordan had hit what could have been the game-winner for the East with 4.8 seconds to play). The Western Conference won by 10 in double overtime with Kevin Garnett winning MVP honors. Kobe could have missed one of those free throws on purpose or even decided against pulling up for the potential game-winning 3-pointer (he was fouled by Jermaine O’Neal with a second to play) and let me MJ have the storybook ending. But it’s just not who he was or is … it’s not in his blood.


VIDEO: Kobe vs. MJ in the 2003 All-Star Game

Ian Thomsen, NBA.com: In his second season, in 1998, Sports Illustrated sent me to Los Angeles to report what would be Kobe’s first cover story. He picked me up in a new SUV and we went to an outdoor patio restaurant for an interview that went on for hours. A woman sitting next to us asked if he played for the Lakers: He introduced himself, and she said she would be following his career. Much has changed since then, but not his confidence: That night at age 19 he was predicting basically everything he would go onto accomplish in basketball.

Lang Whitaker, NBA.com’s All Ball blogI was there at Madison Square Garden in 2009 when the Lakers came to town. It was an early February game, with the All-Star break a few weeks away, and despite it being two marquee franchises — the Lakers! Against the Knicks! — in the world’s most famous arena, there was no great sense of anything special hanging in the balance that night. And then Kobe went for 61 points, scoring from all over the place and setting a Madison Square Garden record. Even as provincial as Knicks fans can be, I’ll never forget the chants of “MVP! MVP!” for Kobe.


VIDEO: Kobe Bryant scores 61 on Knicks

23 Comments

  1. Louis says:

    I got 2… kobes 9 straight 40pt game streak in 2003with the first game of that streak vs tthe knicks at madison square garden was the night kobe became a basketball god…. the seperation between kobe fans and lakers fans was established on that night….lakersf ans chant mvp when kobe is at home. The kobe fans chant mvp when he’s on the road… he scored 46 that night but every shot he took was impossible…ande electrifying to the opposing teams fans… only vince carters dunk contest compares to how kobes performance was. The command of the crowd was Amazing…. the 2Nd greatest games i ever saw kobe play was the last visit to L.A by michael jordan…where he scored 42 in the first half having 33pts in a 7:30 stretch of the game. He ended up with 55pts in that game… Amazing…

  2. corey says:

    when they were in portland in one of the final games of the season, he hit a 3pointer to take the game into overtime, and in OT he hit one to win it

    it was that night that i officially ranked him above MJ

  3. no pain no gain says:

    dude has the ability to play while being injured, talk about mamba mentality. 81 points were certainly the highlight but not backing away from mj at a young age is something else. Lakers made the right choice by picking Kobe over Shaq….> greatest duo.

  4. Indiana'sownLarryBird says:

    The year the had Howard and Nash and the Lakers were not playing well and Kobe said were going to make the playoffs and he went out and just played out of his mind and got the Lakers not just the 8th seed but the 7th seed, put the team on his back and carried them the second half of the season to the playoffs, just to bad he got hurt with the achilles injury, there hasn’t been a more compettive player since Jordan.

  5. ricky says:

    A true warrior no doubt top 15 player of all times, just the desire to win and get better year by year that determination making a LEGEND the blackmamba…

  6. leash says:

    조던 뭐 해 ? 5 억 만 줘 주소 는 갈월동로 42 동아 1 동 1212 호

  7. chris says:

    Whether the best Laker or not is not question.
    Kobe could only be a Laker 😛

  8. smash112 says:

    Great compilation of the great one” KOBE” . MAD SKILLS THAT WILL NOT BE DUPLICATED. HEY LEBRON!!!, CHECK OUT THESE VIDEOS YOU MAY LEARN A THING OR TWO LOL!!! (FAKE BEST PLAYER IN THE WORLD”) THAT’S A JOKE
    CAN’T TOUCH KOBE..

  9. vybzkartel says:

    kobe is the realest bodmon. hope he comes back strong

  10. Cameron J says:

    “First, I want to apologize directly to the young woman involved in this incident. I want to apologize to her for my behavior that night and for the consequences she has suffered in the past year. Although this year has been incredibly difficult for me personally, I can only imagine the pain she has had to endure. I also want to apologize to her parents and family members, and to my family and friends and supporters, and to the citizens of Eagle, Colo.
    I also want to make it clear that I do not question the motives of this young woman. No money has been paid to this woman. She has agreed that this statement will not be used against me in the civil case. Although I truly believe this encounter between us was consensual, I recognize now that she did not and does not view this incident the same way I did. After months of reviewing discovery, listening to her attorney, and even her testimony in person, I now understand how she feels that she did not consent to this encounter.

    I issue this statement today fully aware that while one part of this case ends today, another remains. I understand that the civil case against me will go forward. That part of this case will be decided by and between the parties directly involved in the incident and will no longer be a financial or emotional drain on the citizens of the state of Colorado.”

  11. Wise Guy says:

    Strong man with no limits , hes attitude leaded him to the place where he is now !
    He IS , and will BE the LEGEND … there is no doubt about it !

  12. dontbelievethehype says:

    Kobe is the shiznit!

  13. Dennis says:

    It’s not really a moment, but his dedication to the game of basketball is my favorite thing about Kobe. Not a lot of players can achieve greatness, but Kobe always had a chip on his shoulder and just a boost of confidence anytime, anywhere. He wasn’t afraid to go against better players, always accepted challenges and usually excels in those cases. Haters can say what they want to say about him, but he will definitely be missed when he finally hangs his kicks up for good.

  14. AlleigHoops says:

    His retirement will be my favourite moment.
    Kobe represents the last vestage of a bygone era in the NBA.
    That time is now over and his breed is no longer required.
    The one that was all about being selfish, all about ME ME ME.
    Hero ball and forcing shots up while draped by 3 defenders.

  15. Exiled says:

    when he came home in one piece after he got elbowed by Dwight

  16. dj blart says:

    81 on my Raps… not cool!

  17. dj blart says:

    best laker ever, most disliked. he’s gonna play 2 to 3 more years

  18. Lord Kayson says:

    When he refused to shoot the ball against the suns in playoffs revealing his true colors

  19. harriethehawk says:

    When he says he will retire. That will be my favorite moment. I know, he’s a great player, I’m not a Kobe fan.

  20. Van says:

    My favorite Kobe moment is when he lit up the Spurs in the 2001 playoffs after Duncan received the MVP for that year. His play that entire playoffs should have put to bed the side kick tag people try and label the guy with. The reality is his game has been HOF caliber but people dislike his personality.

  21. AJ says:

    Great? YES. Greatest Laker ever? In a world where there was no Magic Johnson, George Mikan, Jerry West or Elgin Baylor, maybe. I would put Wilt out there, but even though he brought home a ring, he was a shadow of himself by the time he did so.

    I give Kobe his props, he would certainly make the ALL LAKER first team. But best? NO WAY.

    • jmals says:

      You can only argue Kobe with Magic or Kareem as best Laker ever. Elgin and West are amazing but, Kobe did more than both. Kareem had the unstoppable sky hook, the most points ever scored and championships; Magic has the triple double record secured for ages, championships, and he was showtime’s catalyst; Kobe has the most complete offensive game of any Laker ever and you can’t argue that, in the league he is only comparable to MJ and in fact he is a hair better (MJ was a better defender and is honestly the GOAT due to that fact, plus he did it first) Kobe was an ALL NBA defender at least half of his seasons, and Kobe had that drive to dominate more than any other Laker. Kareem was like the grand master monk of basketball- all studious, calm and fluid, Magic was the rock star virtuoso always flashing and blowing minds – his rookie year, championship game where he plays center and dominates scoring the ring winner with a baby sky hook? Seriously? Can you write a more perfect story beside it happening in game 7 instead of 6? And Kobe is the terminator, the liquid metal one not Arnie; a cold blooded methodical killing machine that keeps learning and adapting his game. He was arguably the top 2 inf the league before his achillies blew out. Those are the 3. If Shaq had stayed he would have most likely made it a 4 way argument.

      Favorite Laker was Fish, Kobe never won a ring without him.