Remembering the Legacy of Kobe Bryant Three Years Later | Top-10 Moments


Today, Jan. 26, 2023, marks the third anniversary of Kobe Bryant‘s untimely death in the helicopter crash alongside his beautiful daughter Gianna ‘GiGi’ Bryant. The news shocked not only the sports world, but the whole world.

As we reflect on this sad but memorable day, we offer a countdown of the top 10 moments of Bryant’s career.

1. 81-Point Game

It would no countdown without mentioning the night he scored 81 points against the Toronto Raptors. The magical moment took place on Jan. 22, 2006, at the Staples Center. Bryant’s scored 81 points, 28-of-46 shooting from the field, with him scoring 27 points in the third quarter and 28 points in the fourth quarter.

It was the second-greatest scoring performance in NBA history behind Wilt Chamberlain’s 100-point game. Of course, Bryant never let Jalen Rose live down this moment. Rose was playing for the Raptors that night and he was one of the many Raptors tasked with slowing him down that night.

2. First All-Star Appearance

Michael Jordan famously put Bryant’s first All-Star appearance in his ESPN “Last Dance” documentary. He described Bryant as “the little Laker boy” in behind-the-scenes footage before the 1998 NBA All-Star game took place at Madison Square Garden. It was the first of many for Bryant as he was beginning to make his mark on the league.

3. Jordan Takes a Charge from Kobe 

Jordan was on the backside of his NBA career when he played for the Wizards, but Bryant still enjoyed playing against him. In one of their final on-court moments, Jordan baited Bryant into a charge and the two laughed about the call afterward.

4. Kobe Destroys the Celtics in Game 5 of NBA Finals

Bryant had completed a lot of his NBA bucket list in his career by 2010, with the list including: winning four championships, NBA MVP, All-Star Game MVP, several All-NBA selections, several All-Star selections and winning a title without Shaquille O’Neal.

One thing was still left though, and that was to beat the Celtics in the NBA Finals. Bryant and the Lakers previously lost in 2008, but he avenged that in 2010. His game-five performance gave the Lakers the momentum as the series headed back to Los Angeles with the Lakers having a 3-2 series lead. The team closed the series out in game seven and Bryant captured his fifth title.

5. Kobe Wins Slam Dunk Contest In His Rookie Year

In addition to his great footwork and shooting ability, Bryant was supremely athletic. He has been known for putting his fair share of opposing players on posters as they contested his dunk attempts. He first introduced the world to his bunnies in 1996. He joined a long list of NBA greats to compete in the dunk contest, unlike ‘clears throat’ Lebron James; Bryant would win the contest in 1997, during his rookie season.

6. Mamba Mentality 

Bryant was the definition of toughness and that is why the ‘mamba mentality’ phrase fits his personality like a glove. He showed that every single day of his career with his work ethic and ability to get better, even when he achieved all of his goals.

In 2014, he tore his Achilles on a play that he was fouled on but refused to leave the court without making his free throws.

7. ‘Mamba Out’

Bryant called it quits at the end of the 2016 season after 20 years. He gave fans a lot of great moments and capped off an amazing career like only he could. He dropped 60 points to give the Lakers’ fans and the star-studded guests in attendance one final show at Staples Center against the Timberwolves.

8. Soft Like Charmin Tissue 

His passion never stopped burning even when the Lakers were having some of their worst seasons. In 2013, when the Lakers were going through a rough stretch, Bryant challenged his teammates in practice like he would often do. A famous quote from him was born that day, ““You motherf***ers are soft like Charmin…Now I see why we’ve lost 20 f***ing games.”

9. Courtside With GiGi 

GiGi, the second oldest daughter of Bryant, had a love for the game of basketball just like her father. After retirement, Bryant would often be seen spending more and more time with his family at basketball games, mainly him and GiGi. This particular night, cameras caught the two sharing a moment where it appeared Bryant was breaking down plays and things that were happening on the court. This was also right before the tragic passing of the two.

10. Kobe Embraces LeBron After He Passed Him In Scoring 

Bryant was a fierce competitor during his playing days, but he always loved and respect the game of basketball. He shared a great moment with LeBron James when he passed him in scoring. The two hugged and it showed a side of him that people weren’t used to.

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