Kobe’s Top 10s

Kobe’s Greatest Hits, XV

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — Few people have the introspective powers to look at their own careers and pinpoint exactly when they were at their very best.

Los Angeles Lakers superstar Kobe Bryant doesn’t have to worry about it, because his actions speak louder than any words he could muster. And at no time during his career did his actions speak any louder than they did during the 2005-06 season. The career-best 35.4 points per game scoring average, the 81-point outburst in Toronto and so much more was captured here for the finale of our Kobe’s Top 10 Plays series:

If you missed any of the other 14 installments of our Kobe’s Top 10 Plays series,all you have to do is click here to see what all the fuss is about. It’s hard to pick a favorite with everything from Afro-Kobe to Crazy8 Kobe to the Black Mamba and now the more mature KB Bryant.

We have to give a special shout out to David Thomas and his crew at NBA Entertainment for filing through all those thousands of plays to come up with the Black Mamba‘s top highlights.

So fellas, whose highlights are going through next?

Kobe’s Greatest Hits, XIV

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — We’re down to the final entries in our Kobe’s Top 10 Plays list and as you might have guessed, we saved some of the best stuff for last.

Kobe’s is fast climbing the league’s career scoring chart and has passed some Hall of Famers this season, and will pass a few more. The Black Mamba hasn’t slowed down one bit this season, despite the constant rumbling about his demise.

Don’t just take our word for it, check out Kobe’s Top Plays of the 2010-11 season (so far) and see for yourself:

There’s only one more installment in our series. So be sure to check back and see what kind of finale we have in store. The wait for more highlights from Kobe shouldn’t be long.

He’ll be on center stage this weekend at the 60th All-Star Game, Feb. 20 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.

Kobe’s Greatest Hits, XIII

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — You’ve been asking for it since our Kobe’s Top 10 Plays series began. And now it’s here.

The 2002-03 season was a special one for Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers. No, they didn’t win a title that year (they lost in the Western Conference finals.)

But Kobe was at his lethal best. Take a look for yourself (Yao Ming might want to take this one off):

We only have two more installments of our Kobe’s Top 10 Plays list. So you will need to check back here in the days leading up to the 60th All-Star Game, Feb. 20 in Los Angeles, to make sure you don’t miss any of the action.

Kobe’s Greatest Hits, XII

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — If you haven’t developed an appreciation for Kobe Bryant as a youngster, surely you are impressed with the mature version?

If not, we’ll take another stab at convincing you with today’s installment of our Kobe’s Top 10 Plays look back series. The Black Mamba was at his diabolical, buzzer-beating best during the 2009-10 season:

We’re not done yet. We still have a three more seasons to work with in Kobe’s Top 10 Plays list. So make sure to check back in the coming days. Before the 60th All-Star Game, Feb. 20 in Los Angeles, you should have all the highlights you need.

And then you can watch him make a few more on that Staples Center floor with the rest of this season’s All-Stars.

Kobe’s Greatest Hits, XI

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — In the beginning, there was the skinny kid from suburban Philly with the NBA pedigree and dreams bigger than most anyone’s expectations, save for his own and maybe then-Lakers general manager Jerry West.

Kobe Bryant’s rookie season was the origin of one of the truly great and more unique NBA careers we have seen. Bryant entered the league one year after Kevin Garnett altered the future of the league and the game by bypassing college for the NBA. Bryant and Jermaine O’Neal followed in that 1996 draft, as the 13th and 17th picks, respectively.

They were pioneers in a basketball revolution whose fruits we are still enjoying in today’s NBA. But take this walk with us down memory lane today and witness Kobe’s Top 10 Plays from the 1996-97 season, his rookie year:

Our series documenting the Black Mamba’s Top Plays continues every day here at HT up until the 60th All-Star Game, Feb. 20 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.

Rookie Kobe certainly doesn’t have the edge of Afro-Kobe, but seeing the embryo of the basketball assassin we’ve all come to either love or loathe is truly an experience.

There’s only one word to describe Rookie Kobe: Fearless!

Kobe’s Greatest Hits, X

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — If you didn’t know any better you’d think Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol have been playing together for a decade.

When they are clicking, they make it look effortless. See for yourself in today’s installment of our Kobe Bryant’s Top 10 Plays series, which highlights the 2008-09 season.

As usual there’s plenty of wicked stuff from Kobe. Gasol serves as his co-star in much of what you’ll see:

This is the 10th hit on the Black Mamba’s Top Plays hit list that you can view here every day up until the 60th All-Star Game, Feb. 20 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.

If you haven’t had enough of Kobe‘s highlights by then, you’ll just have to settle for watching him make some new ones on his home court that night with the rest of the All-Stars from around the league.

Kobe’s Greatest Hits, IX

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — One championship wasn’t enough for the Shaquille O’NealKobe 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.

Kobe’s Greatest Hits, VIII

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — Technically speaking, Kobe Bryant‘s 2006-07 season was one his two best in terms of sheer numbers (he was even better the season before).

He averaged 31.6 points per game, shot career bests from the floor (.463) and the free throw line (.868) while also averaging 5.7 rebounds, 5.4 assists and 1.4 steals.

As you might imagine, KB Bryant piled up plenty of highlights that year. That provides us today’s installment of our Kobe’s Top 10 Plays series:

As great as he was that season, the Los Angeles Lakers went just 42-40 that season and got bounced in the first round of the Western Conference playoffs. Guess you can’t have it all, all of the time.

Be sure to catch the next installment of our Kobe’s Top 10 Plays series, a career look back at the top highlights from the Black Mamba‘s Hall of Fame (you know he’s a lock) career. We’ll wrap it up just in time for the 60th NBA All-Star Game, which will be held on Bryant’s turf Feb. 20 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.

Kobe’s Greatest Hits, VII

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — We’re going to table the Kobe BryantMichael Jordan debate for another day and go strictly with our ongoing examination of Bryant’s career.

Don’t get it twisted, that Kobe-MJ debate always delivers. And we love the passion of those arguing both sides. But it’s a totally irrelevant conversation where our Kobe Top 10 Plays series is concerned.

Today’s installment of the Black Mamba’s Top plays is from the 2001-02 season, and one you won’t want to miss:

Our series runs up until All-Star Weekend, Feb. 20 in Los Angeles, where Bryant will take center stage as always at the Staples Center.

If you’d like to, we can unleash the Kobe-MJ debate without any restrictions after that.

Kobe’s Greatest Hits, VI

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — We’ve been struggling with an in-house debate here at the hideout over which Kobe Bryant we like more, young Afro-Kobe or KB24.

Young, Crazy8 Kobe was a bit more acrobatic around the rim but mature, Black Mamba Kobe has the measured tone of an assassin in his prime. So it’s not an easy choice.

Today’s installment in HT‘s Top 10 Plays look back at Kobe‘s entire career gives another glimpse at the fearless young Kobe, the one we still weren’t sure would finish his career as one of the game’s all-time greats. But look at these plays from his 1997-98 season and you can see the seeds being sown:

Don’t forget, we’re eyeballing a different set of Kobe’s Top 10 Plays every day until the All-Star Game, Feb. 20 in Los Angeles, where we’ll get a good look at the current Kobe on the Hollywood stage.