Kobe Bryant Top 10 Plays
The news of Kobe Bryant’s passing is truly a sad thing. Even if you weren’t necessarily a fan of Kobe during his career or basketball in general, one thing everyone can acknowledge is Bryant’s greatness. Kobe had an unmatched desire to win.
Kobe’s killer instinct resulted in a stellar career and inspired a countless number of people. Here is a list of Kobe Bryant’s top 10 plays to honor what he was able to achieve.
- Hits Free Throws After Tearing Achilles
Kobe Bryant ruptured his Achilles’ tendon during a regular-season game against the Golden State Warriors in 2013. One would expect him to exit the game instantly.
But in true Kobe fashion, he stayed in the game to shoot and make both free throws. Even after the foul that led to him tearing his Achilles. Kobe Bryant is known for his mental and physical perseverance. Bu this play really goes to show just how tough he was.
9. Assist to Runny Turiaf in 2008
During a game against the Warriors in 2008, Bryant went to showcase his impressive ability to pass the ball creatively. The play begins with Kobe making his way through several defenders with quick moves to the hoop.
Just as one expects Kobe to go in for the layup, he dishes out a behind the back assist to Runny Turiaf. He isn’t known for passing the ball, but this doesn’t mean he does not excel at this facet of the game. This play is something that goes to capture his ability to pass the ball creatively.
8. Dunk on Hakeem Olajuwon
Kobe Bryant entered the league in 1996. Even though he was only 18 years old at the time, he was quick to make a name for himself. Right off the back, Bryant’s extreme athletic ability was hard to ignore. After only being in the league for a year, Kobe went to make everyone aware of his ability to dunk in 1997.
Not only was he able to win the 1997 Dunk Contest, but he also absolutely posterized the legendary player and defender Hakeem Olajuwon. Bryant dunked the ball with such force that it knocked the 7 foot tall Olajuwon to the ground.
7. Dunk on Dwight Howard
Hakeem was not the only renowned defender to get embarrassed by Kobe. Ironically enough, before joining Kobe Bryant on the Lakers, Dwight Howard was a dominant force in the league. Even as a rookie, Howard was a solid player. Bryant took no time in welcoming him to the NBA.
Kobe Bryant absolutely posterized Dwight Howard during his first year in the league. Howard claims it was the first time someone dunked on him. For the rest of the season, when fans asked Howard for autographs, they would bring up Kobe’s dunk against him.
6. Catches Alley-Oop in 2001 Finals
The Los Angeles Lakers were utterly dominant during the 2001 playoffs. They did not lose a single game up until their final series against the 76ers. As a Sixers fan, it pains me to say that the Sixers were only able to pull off one win against the Lakers, even with Iverson playing at an unreal level.
This goes to show further how good Kobe was. Iverson was quick to get to the ball, but unfortunately, on this particular play, Kobe was even faster. During the 2001 NBA Finals, Kobe caught an impressive lob from the 3-point line. Although this might not sound all too wild when one sees footage of the play, they can realize how athletic this play was. Bryant soars through the air, catches the ball, and finishes with a dunk on the other side of the hoop.
5. Full Court Pass Caught to Dunk in 2003
This play showcases Kobe’s ability to excel in transition. Bryant catches a full-court pass and right after pulls a quick behind the back move. This is directly proceeded by Bryant throwing down a fierce reverse jam. Check out this video at the 1:33 mark to see this impressive feat.
4. Win Against Raptors in 2013
The Laker’s win against the Raptors in a regular-season game during 2013 goes to capture Bryant’s ability to come up in the clutch. After trailing by as many as 15 during the game, Bryant willed his way back into the competition, dropping 41 points.
With less than 2 minutes left to play, Bryant went to nail three 3-pointers in a row. This forced the game into OT where Kobe secured the win by driving to the hoop and delivering an impressive dunk with only seconds left in the game.
3. OT Playoff Win Against Suns in 2006
Players struggle to translate regular-season success and big plays into the playoffs, but this was far from an issue for Kobe. A prime example of this is the Lakers’ OT win against the Suns during the 2006 playoffs.
The Suns were about to secure the victory during regulation time. But to their surprise, the Lakers were able to steal the ball from Nash. Of course, the ball was given to Bryant, who sent the game into OT with a wild layup. In OT, Bryant continued his impressive play. The game ended with Bryant pulling up and hitting buzzer-beater even with two defenders directly on him.
Check out this link for footage of this impressive feat.
2. Alley-Oop to Shaq
There are a countless number of highlights from Kobe’s career. One that stands out is Bryant’s alley-oop to Shaq in the 2000 Western Conference Finals. This play took place during game 7 against the Portland Trailblazers.
With under a minute to play, Bryant lobs an impressive alley-oop that Shaq rises up, catches, and slams. Bryant was able to accomplish this even with Scottie Pippin, a player known for his defensive abilities, tightly guarding him. This play captures several of Bryant’s skills. These include his immense offensive ability and IQ. Along with his ability to come up in the clutch.
1. Bank Shot Against Miami
During 2009 the Lakers beat the Heat, led by Dwayne Wade, in an extremely close game. The game featured both future hall of fame players trading baskets back and forth.
With the clock dwindling, Wade hit a shot to put the Heat up by 1. Bryant gets inbounded the ball, runs across the arch of the 3-point line, and hits a ridiculous bank shot to win the game as the clock hit zero.
One must watch the video below to understand how difficult a shot this was. Even with Wade directly on him, Bryant was able to pull up and make a shot when needed.
Kobe’s passing is quite tragic. Although he is no longer with us, his legendary accomplishments and inspiration to a whole generation of basketball players will go to live on forever.
What do you guys think, though?
What was your favorite play of Kobe’s from the above list? And what are some of your favorite plays of his that did not make the above list of Kobe Bryant’s top 10 plays?