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Vino

March 13, 2013

Just in case you didn’t know, that’s Kobe’s new nickname. Like wine, he seems to get better with age. Just recently I realised something: Kobe is one of three NBA All-Time legends, who’re still playing. And I’ve been blessed to watch his entire career. The other two being Kevin Garnett and Tim Duncan.

vino_kobe_wine

I could create a blogpost about the greatest achievements by Kobe, but I’m not going too. Instead I’ll give you my clearest memories on Kobe and I’ll tell you why they remained in my superior, barely human brain.

“Kobe…to Shaq”

The title says enough doesn’t it? The year’s 2000, the Lakers were down fifteen or so and Shaq wasn’t playing like his MVP season. Kobe stepped up in a big way and the epic Lakers-run hit a climax with this alley-oop. I’ll publish a NBA Memoires article soon about me experiencing this crazy moment!

His ’00-’01 season

Kobe made the leap to being a true star in LA’s first championship season. But during the season after, Kobe made it clear he wasn’t ‘just’ Shaq’s sidekick. He proved he was able to lead a team on his own. Averaging 28, 6 & 5 during the season, he picked up the slack for the Lakers who had to miss Shaq for a couple of games and played without the leadership of Glen Rice & Ron Harper. During this season, the Kobe & Shaq feud arised for the first time but they managed to look in the same direction, going mentally insane during the play-offs. They matched a NBA history best with only one loss during their back-to-back championship run.

I remember this alley-oop vs. the Spurs which made me jump out of my sofa.

Alley-Oop vs. Sixers

Probably one of the most underrated dunks. The degree of difficulty is through the roof! It sure depicts how athletic Frobe was.

Colorado

The NBA darling accused of rape, imagine that. It’d be like Durant would get charged with it nowadays. Kobe lost the bulk of his endorsement deals and had to go back and forth between court trials and games. I do remember this period quite clear. He went on a impressive run during his court trials, playing as efficient as ever. The moment that I’ll never forget is his game-winner against Denver after he arrived late to the game.

’04 vs. Portland

In a regular season filled with drama for LA, Kobe hit the game-tying shot and the game-winner to capture the pacific division. The shot gave them the momentum to start off the play-offs hot. The degree of difficulty is insane!

’04 Finals

It ain’t all good memories dear Kobe! After winning three rings with Shaq as the main guy during the Finals, it seemed like Kobe was tired of seeing Shaq win Finals MVP over and over again. It had to be frustrating for a workout maniac like Kobe to see Shaq stuff his face and get out of shape…and still be able to produce at such a high level. His game 2 heroics aside, he went on an epic chuck fest shooting 38% from the floor. Shaq didn’t get his usual amount of touches and shot 64%. I’m not going to say Kobe’s the reason the Lakers lost. That team had to endure a Karl Malone injury and outside Kobe & Shaq, there wasn’t a guy on that squad who averaged over 6,5 points a game.

81

Sometimes sports can give you such moments, you still remember where you were. After Kobe went bananas on the Toronto Raptors, I first got a text while I was going to school. Seeing the amount of points Kobe scored, I didn’t believe it at first. During the day, people came up to me and asked if it was true, I had no idea. I had to wait until I got home to check NBA.com. When my dad came home, I told him what Kobe had done, he didn’t believe it too. January 26th was the day where ‘unbelievable’ was the right word.

2006 vs. Phoenix

His first play-off series without Shaq was against the first seed Phoenix Suns. LA shocked the basketball world by going up 2-1. With game 4 being at home, a 3-1 lead would seem unsurmountable. With the Lakers down 2, Kobe directed himself at Smush Parker during a time-out, he told him he was going to get a steal no matter what. Kobe’s determination certainly helped as Smush stole the ball on an inbounds pass. The rest is history…

MVP

Finally, is the word probably most used when Kobe got his first MVP award. It proved that team succes is one of the most important factors to win the MVP. Kobe averaged 28.3 ppg, 6.3 rpg, 5.4 apg and 1.8 spg during the season, this marked the worst statistical season for Bryant in 3 years, but his team success lifted him to another level. Bryant is a yearly candidate for the award even in the late stages of his career.

’09 Finals vs. Magic

Bryant had a spectacular finals series against Orlando. During game 5 he hit an incredible shot over and around Dwight Howard, showing off his incredible skill level. This shot >>> MJ’s overrated switching hands lay-up vs. Lakers

Kobe is ICE cold

Matt Barnes is known as a feisty defender who gets under the skin of his opponents. But Kobe has zero focks to give.

Clutch times three

Having an incredible individual season, Kobe has been on a mission to will his team into the season. Last game against the Raptors added to Kobe’s never-ending list of big shots and reminded us all how the NBA will change whenever he decides to hang them up. Love him or hate him, I’m gratefull I’ve been able to watch Kobe play throughout his entire career.

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