June 19, 2024

The Book of Kobe Bryant | Full-Length Documentary

Published May 20, 2023, 12:20 p.m. by Violet Harris

kobe Bryant, the Black Mamba, is one of the greatest basketball players of all time. He has won five nba championships, been an All-Star 18 times, and was the league MVP in 2008. Now, you can learn all about his amazing career in the new documentary, Sport - The Book of kobe Bryant.

This documentary chronicles kobe's life, from his early days growing up in Italy, to his days as a high school and college star, to his time with the Los Angeles Lakers. You'll hear from kobe himself, as well as from those who know him best, like his wife Vanessa and former Lakers coach Phil Jackson.

You'll also get an inside look at kobe's training regimen and see how he prepares for games. Plus, you'll see highlights from some of his greatest moments on the court.

Whether you're a diehard Lakers fan or just a casual basketball fan, you'll enjoy Sport - The Book of kobe Bryant. So check it out today!

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I kobe bryant have decided  to take my talent to uh

no i have decided to skip college  and take my time to the mba  

the first chapter of a story is often its  most important our first page begins at  

lower marian high school outside of philadelphia  pennsylvania where a 17 year old kobe bryant has  

gradually become one of the biggest  names in amateur basketball and has  

just announced his decision to forego college  and submit his name for the 1996 nba draft  

after witnessing fellow top prospect kevin garnett  be selected in the top five of the previous draft  

kobe knew that he was capable of making the jump  to the pros and was now joining a stacked rookie  

class while he had been a well-documented  player in the media with publications from  

national magazines to espn covering his rise in  popularity nba franchises were still skeptical  

especially considering there had never been  a guard drafted straight out of high school  

however bryant knew he only needed to impress one  franchise to give him the opportunity he needed  

and after impressive workouts for both the  celtics and clippers put on a performance  

in front of lakers legend and general manager  jerry west that would change his life forever  

then when he was in los angeles his agent wanted  wanted us to work him out which we did with some  

other kids and he was by far it was like no one  else was in the gym and these people were taken in  

the first round we had michael cooper to work out  with against damon michael cooper was a tremendous  

defensive player and it got to the point where  it's almost embarrassing to watch a 17 year old  

kick this old man's fanny i called michael at that  time and um well i just said hey we don't need to  

see this anymore that's this is ridiculous i mean  this guy is he's the best player in the draft  

as the 1996 draft rolled around a draft that is  considered by many to be one of the most talented  

in nba history kobe would watch 12 players be  selected before he finally heard his name called  

but not for lack of interest in fact then nets  head coach john calipari had been obsessed with  

bryant since witnessing his workout for new jersey  but kobe's agent who had had his sights set on the  

career opportunities that came with being in los  angeles threatened that his client would play  

overseas in italy if the nets even thought about  selecting the 17 year old with eighth pick the  

strategy worked as five slots later bryant would  get the call that every young hooper dreams of

with the 13th pick in the 1996 nba draft  

the charlotte hornets select kobe bryant  from lower marion high school in pennsylvania

you have the scores to go to college why the nba  

it's the ultimate challenge you know if i was 40  years old and i'm sitting back and i was looking  

back at my career i went to college and played on  the nba maybe i had a great career and maybe not  

and i'm still having that down my mind could  have answered that challenge because i've  

responded to the challenge of the nba that's  something i didn't want to have on my shoulders  

so i just really accepted shortly after being  selected it was announced that bryant's draft  

rights had been sent to the los angeles lakers  in return for veteran big man vladi devatch not  

only would this move land kobe with a franchise  that believed in his potential but it also freed  

up the cap space needed for la to eventually lure  the game's most dominant big man shaquille o'neal  

to the west coast later that summer in one off  season the lakers had brought in the pieces to  

reestablish themselves in the western conference  and planted seeds that would eventually make them  

the nba's ultimate powerhouse in the meantime  a young kobe bryant was now one of the most  

recognizable faces on the lakers roster and his  journey as a rookie would be anything but easy  

i've learned how to play the nba style of play  the physicalness the mental mental toughness that  

you need to get in there and get the job done and  the season in nba you know i understand it's gonna  

be a roller coaster season for myself but i'm  willing to get in there and learn from these guys

despite showing some promise in the  summer league prior to the season  

it wouldn't be until november 3rd 1996 that  kobe bryant would make his professional debut  

becoming the second youngest player to ever play  in an nba game after not playing in the season  

opener via coach's decision the rookie would log  only 6 minutes and 22 seconds in his first game  

failing to score a single point and looking  lost at times courtesy of the pace of the nba  

this would be a common theme throughout the first  half of kobe's rookie season in fact it would take  

him two months to finally score over 20 points  in a professional game behind emerging all-stars  

eddie jones and nick van exel kobe found himself  fighting for minutes off the bench in a crowded  

lakers backcourt after convincing shaq to come to  the city of angels the franchise was focused on  

winning now with a solid group of young players  that had been on the cusp of a deep playoff run  

the past two seasons with o'neill coming in as  the centerpiece kobe found himself being seen by  

the coaching staff as a valuable asset that would  need to take this season to watch and learn this  

meant that any opportunities bryant got on the  floor were valuable in showing what he was capable  

of his minutes were inconsistent but even in  these lowest points of his young career kobe  

was still able to foreshadow the skill set that  would eventually become the face of the franchise  

for the next two decades whether it be the  impressive footwork that rivaled a seasoned vet  

or his ability to somehow slither his six foot six  frame into the lane to convert a difficult shot  

a young bryant found himself dazzling fans and  sometimes even teammates giving a glimpse of  

the game that would eventually be crafted into  one of basketball's most legendary skill sets  

but this kid right here mark my words and i  said this earlier in the season it's going to  

be unbelievable i mean i'm not saying that because  you hear it i see him every day in france i see  

him every day in practice i see how this kid works  i see how he after practice how he's still in the  

gym before practice i know he goes to pacific  palisades and shooting their gym after school  

he's just a tremendous talent after impressing  in a couple late january performances coach dell  

harris started giving kobe more opportunities in  the rotation leading to a nine-game stretch prior  

to the all-star break that saw him play over 22  minutes a night and averaged 11.8 points including  

a highly anticipated matchup with michael jordan  who kobe had been undoubtedly molding his game  

after but it was the all-star break itself not  this newfound production that would firmly place  

kobe in the league spotlight despite not quite  being ready for the weekend's biggest showcase  

kobe would leave his mark on the event nonetheless  starting with the newly formatted rookie challenge  

in his first chance to show the world exactly  what he was capable of bryant took full advantage  

bringing the cleveland crowd to their feet with  a 31 point performance that was filled with high  

flying dunks and big shots against the rest of  basketball's top young stars however possibly the  

most memorable moment came from the dunk contest  oh that was big went down between his legs and

following the break bryant's time on the floor in  production with the lakers continued to fluctuate  

there were some games he would  play a solid chunk of minutes  

and others that he didn't see the floor at all  regardless he managed to earn some trust from the  

coaching staff by the end of the regular season  being named to the nba's all-rookie second team  

and helping play a small part in the lakers  winning 56 games that season earning them the  

fourth seed in the top heavy west coach del harris  would tighten up the rotation come playoff time  

meaning once again kobe would have to fight his  way back onto the floor for significant minutes  

he would make his playoff debut in the closing  seconds of game one of their first round matchup  

against the trailblazers checking in with only 46  seconds left in the blowout win he would get his  

first real postseason opportunity in game 3 where  he'd scored 22 points in 26 minutes on the floor  

and what would be the lakers only loss of the  series as los angeles moved into the second  

round they found themselves matched up with the  utah jazz who had become the top team in the  

west the legendary duo of jon stockton and carl  malone had been running pick and roll since kobe  

had been a first grader in italy and the lakers  found themselves falling behind o2 in the series  

unable to match the experience of the vets as game  three tipped off in los angeles it was obvious the  

lakers needed a spark offensively with eddie jones  being held scoreless through the first 28 minutes  

in a move that would change the landscape of the  game coach harris turned to kobe off the bench  

giving him some key minutes in the rotation thanks  to some inspired defense by la that held malone to  

just 1 for 13 from the floor the lakers would hold  a 13 point lead heading into the fourth quarter  

and the baby mamba would get his first taste of  putting away a playoff opponent throughout the  

quarter kobe flashed the unguardable nature that  would go on to define his career drawing 12 free  

throws in the closing moments and helping to hold  the lead even after shaq fouled out with seven  

minutes to play it takes a certain type of player  with a certain mentality to thrive come playoff  

time and kobe had proven that he was capable of  embracing the moment this performance would lead  

to an increased role for kobe throughout the  rest of the series but after dropping another  

game at home to utah in game 4 it was game 5  that would go on to be a defining moment in his  

career walking into an elimination game in front  of the notoriously passionate utah fan base  

the lakers had their work cut out for them with  top role player byron scott being out for the game  

with a wrist injury falling behind by eight points  at halftime kobe had been held scoreless in the  

first nine minutes of action and remained that way  well into the third quarter however thanks to some  

aggressive defense los angeles managed to trim  the jazz lead to five by the start of the fourth  

following his fourth quarter outburst in game  three bryant had begun drawing the attention  

of utah's best wing defenders but once again he  proved that he was up to facing the challenge  

of the big moment right within the young  rookie shannon anderson down into rookie  

kobe bryant ryan goes to the left corner come  back left to right pull up for the angle left  

jumping score count if he's fouled by shannon  anderson what a move by kobe bryant out front  

to kobe bryant pick a three drive leap marine  off balance shot good kobe bryant what a move  

with cobain now right baseline percy drive  reverse shot it's good what a shot inside a shot  

underneath the low this player and he slams  it in after dropping nine points in the tight  

fought quarter and the lakers seeing leading  scorer shaquille o'neal fell out with only  

a minute 46 remaining la had the ball with only  11 seconds left and only one player on the floor  

wanted to take the final shot the young rookie  straight from high school eight seconds left  

brian a guard above russell five seconds left  four brian drives pull up shot on the way

after airballing the game-winning  shot kobe would proceed to follow  

up with three more air balls during overtime  including two with less than a minute left

utah would end up winning the game and clinching  the series following the lakers loss but what the  

lakers gained was so much more valuable you know i  really thought that was a defining moment's career  

you know why if somebody would have shot an air  ball in our team and they'd shot a second one they  

were going to shoot a third one he was fearless  i think that's one of the things that spurred him  

to greatness he wouldn't allow himself to fail i  don't know if anyone on our team would have taken  

three shots that he took i don't know that but  i'll guarantee you one thing when we came back  

next year it was a different person doing the  year before that was not going to happen again  

right like you're worried about how people may  perceive you and like you're walking around and  

it's embarrassing because you shot five air balls  get over yourself right and then after that it's  

okay well why did those air balls happen got it  high school year before we played 35 games max  

right week in between spaced out plenty of time to  rest in the nba it's back to back to back to back  

to back to back to back i didn't have the legs so  you look at the shot every shot was online every  

shot was online but every shot was short right  i got to get stronger i got to train differently  

the weight training program that i'm doing i got  to tailor it for an 82 game season so that when  

the playoffs come around my legs are stronger  and that ball gets there so i look at it with  

rationale and say okay well the reason why i shot  air balls because my legs aren't there i got well  

next year they'll be there kobe bryant's desire  to step up in the big moment and willingness to  

keep shooting even after he had airballed what  was at that point the biggest shot of his career  

is an element of what would go on to define  his legacy being unafraid of the consequences  

of a moment and being willing to take failures  study them and turn them into long-term success  

bryant's rookie season was filled with ups  and downs from career defining highlights  

to frustrating failures but what it did was  establish a foundation that allowed him to learn  

from past mistakes and come back better than  before kobe may not have been ready for the  

big moments just yet but he wasn't afraid of them  either it was this mindset that would eventually  

establish him as one of the game's best and  soon it would help him achieve his ultimate goal

one man who gives the fans here quite  a show is the lakers kobe bryant  

bryant follows the tradition of laker  showman there was elgin baylor in the 60s  

and magic johnson in the 80s now kobe's  carried the torch into the 21st century  

and done it with a style all  his own welcome to the kobe show  

the explosion of kobe bryant  how did the kid do that


entering the 1999 nba season kobe bryant had begun  his rise towards being recognized as one of the  

league's premier players in the year prior he had  more than doubled his points per game and time on  

the floor carving out a larger role in the lakers  rotation and forming one of the game's greatest  

one-two punches with the prime shaquille o'neal  becoming a centerpiece on one of basketball's  

most legendary franchises had resulted in bryant  becoming an icon on and off the court something  

that was made obvious when a fan vote had helped  him secure his first all-star appearance in 1998  

from late night talk show appearances to adidas ad  campaigns kobe was at the center of attention in  

the sports world thanks to his exciting highlight  plays and memorable personality this was a welcome  

sight for the nba who following the retirement  of michael jordan the previous year had been  

desperately looking for a new era of players to  help issue the league into the new millennium  

on june 11 1999 the lakers announced that they had  hired six-time nba champion phil jackson to become  

the team's head coach after helping lead the  chicago bulls to a decade of dominance jackson had  

vowed to never coach again leaving the game after  the core of his former dynasty disbanded however  

seeing the potential on the lakers roster a group  of talented players who had been unable to get  

over the hump in the postseason phil was lured out  of retirement and los angeles was able to secure  

the final missing piece towards becoming a dynasty  of their own man you gotta see somebody start  

just pivot word like we're not even having a  basketball just run you know set a pick then  

spin pivot gold and stop changing direct like we  without a basketball hey practice layups not a bad  

sweat i learned the spirituality of the game  the mindfulness that comes with the game  

you know understanding how to put yourself  aside how to try to quiet your ego

the new era of lakers basketball would have to  wait as during one of the final preseason games  

against the washington wizards kobe bryant  would be hit by an opposing player's elbow  

resulting in the young star breaking his hand  not realizing the extent of the injury bryant  

had stayed in the game and actually played  the remainder of the contest but when the pain  

was too much to handle the next morning an mri  revealed he had broken the fourth capoparro bone  

in his shooting hand an injury that would cause  him to miss the first six weeks of the season  

despite losing half of their young duo the lakers  still managed to get off to a hot start going  

11-4 in their first 15 games without bryan since  arriving in la shaquille o'neal had grown into the  

game's most dominant big man using his strength  and athleticism to terrorize defenses down low  

now in the heart of his prime his assurgence  in the league created a nightmare for opponents  

especially in an era of basketball that thrived in  the paint kobe would make his return to the lakers  

on december 1st before quickly re-establishing  himself in the starting lineup playing a then  

career-high 38 minutes per game bryant had fully  gained the trust of the lakers coaching staff  

and now was proving nightly why he belonged in the  conversation of the league's top guards there was  

evidence of his confidence growing every time  he stepped on the floor as any reservations or  

potential that people had seen in a young kobe was  now melting away to reveal a polished skill set  

that rivaled the game's greatest scorers from  elite footwork and above the rim highlights  

to an ability to hit difficult shots that left the  opposition clueless the young mamba had finally  

broken out of his shell and was showing the  basketball world exactly what he was capable of  

this combined with o'neal's elite play  in jackson's improvements to the lakers  

game plan resulted in them winning 67  games tied for 5th most in nba history  

shaq had put together what would be the  greatest statistical season of his career  

averaging 29.7 points 13.6 rebounds and 3 blocks  per game on his way to being named the league mvp  

meanwhile kobe had taken his largest step towards  nba stardom improving in every statistical  

category including raising his points per game to  22.5 and leading the team in assists and steals  

these improvements not only earned him his  second all-star appearance at the age of 21  

but it also resulted in bryant being  named to the all-nba second team  

and becoming the youngest player in league  history to earn all defensive honors  

while the lakers had clearly established  themselves as the nba's best team in the  

regular season the playoffs had been a struggle  for the franchise in recent years since shaq and  

kobe had arrived in la the lakers had put together  an underwhelming 14-16 record in the postseason  

having their finals hopes ended by the eventual  nba champion san antonio spurs the year prior  

playing for a franchise as historically dominant  as the lakers and being a player so obsessed with  

success that his work ethic had already begun  becoming the stuff of legend kobe knew that  

his ultimate goal was winning the nba finals it  was the type of thing he had dreamed of growing  

up as a kid in italy and now with all the pieces  coming together for a deep playoff run the lakers  

were finally the favorite to win it all and four  teams stood between them and the ultimate goal  

matching up in the first round with the  entertaining but inexperienced sacramento kings  

the lakers set the tone for the series early  with shaq continuing his dominant play in game  

1 scoring 46 points and grabbing 17 boards in a  10-point win however the kings weren't willing to  

lay down winning back-to-back games in sacramento  and pushing the lakers to a winner takes all  

game five kobe had been hot throughout the series  scoring over 30 points in three straight games and  

with the series returning to the staples center la  was able to put together a 27 point win to close  

out the series the second round provided a unique  challenge for los angeles with former all-star and  

shaq teammate penny hardaway leading a phoenix  suns team that featured future hall of famer  

jason kidd and the talented clifford robinson the  suns were fresh off upsetting the defending nba  

champion spurs in round one and now had their  sights set on ending the title hopes of yet  

another top western conference team shaq and kobe  came out strong in game one scoring a combined 62  

points in a convincing win to take a 1-0 series  lead but the suns would come out fiery in game two  

with phoenix having a strong performance from a  duo of their own as penny hardaway and robertson  

put together a 57 point outburst that had them  in the lead with only 21 seconds remaining  

despite only having 13 points on 10 shots kobe  ended up with the ball in his hands for the last  

possession and the staple center was on its feet  they're gonna take it off the dribble this is it  

you're down one kobe bryant at the  point on a 1-4 offensive formation  

kobe bryant pulls up for the shot and hits the  basket with 2.6 to go giving the lakers the lead  

kobe bryant with 15 points made the  biggest basket of the year for the lakers  

tell me a little bit about that shot well  i just brought the ball up the court and i  

looked up at the clock and uh had enough time  to kind of keep the floor spread and penetrate  

get into the cab see if i can create something  and uh fortunately the shot the biggest shot of  

bryant's career at the time would be enough  to swing the momentum in los angeles favor  

and after splitting games in phoenix the lakers  would close out the series with a 22 point win  

at home securing them a spot in the western  conference finals waiting for shaq and kobe  

in the showdown of top teams in the west was  a talented portland trailblazers team who had  

managed to put together a 59 win regular season  led by six-time nba champion in future hall of  

famer scottie pippen who had been a large part  of the dynasty phil jackson coached in chicago  

the blazers also featured a pair of exciting  young players and rasheed wallace and damon  

stodemeyer who had just begun to enter their  primes the group was fresh off eliminating the  

conference's traditional powerhouse the utah jazz  4-1 and their combination of experience and skill  

would prove to be the lakers greatest challenge  yet while game 1 was more of the same early  

success for the lakers with shaq leading  the way with 41 points in a 15 point win

game two would be a much different story in what  would be their worst loss of the season to date  

the blazers would see pippin rasheed wallace and  steve smith all score over 20 apiece on their way  

to a 29 point win in los angeles portland had just  sent a wake-up call to the lakers this series was  

about to be a fight to the finish the two teams  would go back and forth over the next four games  

with la taking a 3-1 lead before dropping  back-to-back games in portland to force a game 7.  

kobe had struggled to find consistency early  in the series but after a confidence boosting  

33-point performance in game six the young star  was ready for the biggest game of his career so  

far on june 4th 2000 all eyes were on the staples  center for what would be the second most watched  

conference finals game of all time the type of  stage where legends are born for the world to see  

with a near impossible 3-1 series comeback on  their minds the blazers had a clear game plan deny  

shacked the ball in the post and when he got the  ball throw as many defenders at him as possible  

while it seems like a simple strategy it worked  to perfection with o'neill being held to only nine  

points entering the fourth quarter the blazers  had been able to build some steady production  

on offense with young all-star rasheed wallace  punishing la on his way to a 30-point performance  

the lakers now found themselves down 15 with  only 10 28 remaining in the fourth quarter and  

it seemed another playoff elimination could be on  the horizon however in true champion fashion los  

angeles found a spark offensively when they needed  it most with reserve guard brian shaw hitting  

two clutch three-pointers to slow down portland's  double team bryant who had been a well-rounded  

contributor throughout the game raised his  defense to a new level playing a large role  

in the blazers missing their next 12 consecutive  shots as la climbed their way back into the fight  

with the game tied and only a minute 50  remaining bryant would completely take over  

the game drawing a foul that led to two free  throws and then hitting a move on one of the  

greatest defenders of all time before pulling up  for a tough mid-range jumper the very next play  

kobe would go right back at pippin and this time  it would be one of the biggest plays of his career  

kobe's lob to shaq would not only be the dagger  that sealed their first trip to the nba finals  

together but it also represented a key moment  that would transcend this season and help form the  

chemistry that would lead to one of the nba's next  great dynasties but for the time being the focus  

would be on finally achieving their ultimate  goal and only one team remained in their way

reggie miller and the indiana pacers had always  been a step or two away whether it was the jordan  

lead bulls the new york knicks or even a young  shack in orlando someone had always stepped  

between them and a chance at the nba finals  except 2000 was different after winning 56 games  

and finishing first in the central division the  pacers had fought their way up the ranks in the  

eastern playoffs returning to their fifth eastern  conference finals in the past seven years despite  

yet again being matched up with the knicks indiana  would finally break through the glass ceiling  

with regi helping seal the final game of the  series with a 34 point performance and sending  

the pacers to their first nba finals appearance in  franchise history just looking up seeing the nba  

finals banners and you know seeing nba finals on  the floor nba finals 2000 on you on your jerseys  

you know it's a great feeling it kind of  feels like you're just dreaming really  

with the stage set and two teams who had been  fighting to get over the hump finally having the  

opportunity to win it all the 2000 nba finals got  off to a strong start for la kobe had come out of  

the gates hot in his first championship action  scoring on four of his first six shots in the  

first quarter but eventually found himself playing  a more complementary role to shaq who had a clear  

advantage inside o'neill would be unstoppable in  game one scoring 43 points and grabbing 19 boards  

on the way to a 17 point victory for the lakers  however it was bryant who would have the most  

valuable contribution to the game thanks to  his effort on the defensive end kobe would hold  

future hall of famer reggie miller to a career-low  1-16 performance forcing the nba's eventual  

all-time three-point leader to have one of the  worst shooting performances in finals history  

it was clear that the duo of shaq and kobe would  be too much for indiana in this series and early  

in game two pacers guard jaylen rose would try  to take the fate of the series into his own hands

kobe bryant looks like he sprained his ankle when  kobe came down he's on the floor and he's driving  

in pain holding his left ankle now kobe came down  as he shot that jumper now they're gonna have to  

take the phone rose had broken an unwritten rule  in basketball he had not only slid his foot into  

kobe's landing zone but years later he actually  admitted to doing it on purpose but playing  

against him in the finals again i'm thinking this  is before any questions were being asked so like  

now you look back in hindsight and i don't think  it's cute i don't think it's cool i don't think  

i'm hard cause i tried to hurt kobe bryant  in a in the game i'm disgusted by it because  

you know i wanted to win that bad that i was  willing to basically cheat to do it the lakers  

would still go on to take game two but the ankle  injury would be one that bothered kobe the rest of  

the series and it would directly cause him to miss  the entirety of game three as well in his absence  

the pacers were allowed to throw more pressure at  shaq and the void left by bryant on the defensive  

end led to reggie miller who had been held  to 28 points total in the first two games  

to explode for 33 and a nine point pacers victory  well good evening everybody and welcome tonight  

the most important game of the finals the eyes  of indianapolis are on the ankle of kobe bryant  

the big question for laker fans will kobe bryant  play tonight you need to be 95 right okay 50  

we don't need any who said i can change my game  is there any circumstance that you can envision  

right now that would keep you from playing any  snipers in the room with kobe back in the starting  

lineup for the next game it was obvious that the  winner of game four would hold all the momentum of  

the series making it a must win for both teams  after only scoring six in the first half kobe  

would rise to the occasion with one of the most  clutch performances in nba finals history fighting  

through the pain of a still-injured ankle to  re-establish the momentum for the lakers picking  

up his fifth foul early in the third quarter coach  jackson was worried that sitting kobe would cause  

his ankle to tighten so he trusted bryant to keep  playing and it proved to be the right decision

brian accelerating to the baseline and hitting the  jumper that's an amazing gamble by phil jackson  

kobe started a little bounce in his stepper you  can see starting to feel much better kobe what a  

great feed to o'neal we played two minutes of the  second half indiana by five kobe bryant cuts it  

to three ac green looking for bryant but jackson  has pushed him far from the basket doesn't take  

him long to get into the lane and hangs in the  air with another beauty despite kobe scoring 14  

points in the second half the pacers were still  able to tie the game at the end of regulation  

meaning the winner would be decided in overtime  shaq would try to take over an ot but a sixth foul  

with only two minutes and 33 seconds remaining  would take him out of the game completely the  

rest of the night and the direction of the  series would be completely in kobe's hands

shaking on miller and hitting a two-point basket  

if you want to be a hero you've got to take  hero shots kobe is going to go to work again  

here he is over jackson how good is this kid  

shaw running one-hander followed in  by kobe bryant again offensive rebound

the lakers have a 3-1 lead bryant's eight points  in overtime were the second most in nba finals  

history firmly cementing kobe is one of the game's  top performers when the game matters most game 5  

would be a slight step back for the lakers with  kobe having one of his worst shooting performances  

of his young career while still battling his  ankle injury the pacers would pull away in the  

elimination game with the commanding 33-point  win the largest deficit the lakers had faced  

all season and they would stay alive for another  game heading back to la despite the hiccup in  

indiana the lakers got himself back on track for  game 6 determined to avoid another 7 game series  

shaq and kobe would combine for 67 points with  bryant overcoming continued shooting struggles  

to seal the game down the stretch with five  clutch free throws after a playoff run that  

had seen them push to their limits shaq and kobe  had finally led los angeles to their ultimate goal  

the lakers were nba champions we worked so hard  it was a hard-fought game but we finally got a  

championship and it feels great for your 21  years you said you've always dreamed to win  

a championship is it what you dreamed of oh  is everything or more i mean you have the  

lego colors falling from the ceiling the fans  going crazy i got the hat on and everything  

covering my throat it feels great no feeling  quite like it can't wait to do it again the 2000  

season had been a huge step for kobe bryant he'd  been able to successfully make the jump from great  

talent to great player etching his name in history  and finally reaching the goal of every competitor  

he had performed on the game's biggest stage and  proved that while he still had room to grow he was  

going to be a force at the top of the league for  years to come in the meantime together with shaq  

the lakers had proven that they had officially  arrived as the nba's best and the dynasty was born

from the moment he burst on the scene with his  prodigious talent style and charisma comparisons  

to the nba's greatest player were made and after  he and shaquille o'neal fought and scratched  

their way to a three-peat in los angeles it seemed  a matter of time before kobe bryant's name would  

be etched in history alongside that of his idol  michael jordan but that role would not be without  

its trials and tribulations two years ago his  world nearly came undone when he faced sexual  

assault allegations in a court of law and like  jordan kobe's play would ultimately overcome all  

the rift would send jack back into miami  conflict with head coach phil jackson  

and a sometimes acrimonious relationship with  the media so how will kobe be remembered as the  

man who broke up the three-time world champions  as a truly great laker scoring legend or as one  

of the players who eclipsed even a great michael  jordan these days it seems anything's possible  

the kobe bryant we saw heading into the 2005-2006  season was far from the rising star we had  

witnessed winning his first nba championship this  kobe was a little more damaged both on and off  

the court from very public feuds with former star  teammate shaquille o'neal and coach phil jackson  

to a well-documented court trial that had changed  many people's perception of his character bryant  

was left on a broken lakers roster with no clear  direction and with a career trajectory that seemed  

much less clear than before the previous season  kobe had taken a step back in his progression  

still averaging 27 points but shooting his lowest  field goal percentage since 1998 and being named  

to the all-nba third team instead of the first  team selection he had become accustomed to  

the team itself had struggled in its first  year without shaq translating to a losing  

record and the lakers missing the playoffs for  the first time in over a decade questions were  

raised about whether or not kobe could be the  main centerpiece of a contending team and as  

the pressure mounted it became clear in bryant's  mind that it was him against the world now after  

mending his relationship with phil jackson leading  to the coach electing to return to los angeles the  

upcoming season would not only be a crossroads for  the lakers as a franchise but for kobe's entire  

career jerry rice told me the great receiver that  he would every time he stepped on the field he  

would kind of tell himself he's not good enough  he has to prove so the fear of failure was a way  

that that he motivated himself and i've heard  you usually sometimes you feel like an underdog  

as well is that something that you have to kind  of tell yourself so you push yourself even more  

yeah what the the thing that i that i'm afraid  of is uh not winning another championship  

that's the thing that's good that fears  yeah i mean that that really drives me

was clear from opening night in 2005 that bryant's  mentality towards this season was different from  

anything that we had seen from him before he was  aggressive in his attack relentlessly hunting for  

his shots and abusing opposing defenses despite  clearly being their main focus this led to a hot  

start as kobe scored over 30 points in each of his  first four games setting the tone for his season  

early and getting the lakers off to a 3-1 start  in recent years he had developed and perfected  

one of the game's greatest offensive skill sets  with a full bag of go-to moves that ranged from  

smooth finishes around the rim to elite footwork  that produced difficult pull-ups in the mid-range  

and beyond it was clear that in order for los  angeles to win games bryant would have to be more  

aggressive in his hunt for scoring opportunities  than ever before as other than the acquisition of  

talented forward lamar odom the previous year the  roster was depleted compared to previous seasons  

while this formula would make for an up and down  season it was the perfect circumstance to produce  

one of the greatest scoring seasons the game  has ever seen i think the game itself is about  

competition right so when you step out on that  floor the person that you're playing against your  

opposition must feel that way if they don't feel  that way i can i can smell it out pretty quickly  

you know what i mean but and what do you do  when you smell it out you go right at them  

and you try to take you try to take their  will away from them that's what you doing  

you take people's will just tell the truth  that's what you do when you play the game  

when you're out there playing basketball  man that's what you have to do that's what  

you try to do averaging 31 points through the  first 24 games the first legendary feat of the  

season would come on december 20th 2005 where  bryant would accomplish something that nobody  

in the history of modern basketball had done  before in a 22 point win against the mavericks  

who would eventually go on to win 60 games on  their way to the nba finals kobe would catch  

fire from the opening tip knocking down difficult  shots and attacking dallas at every opportunity

he goes

got it again he's got 46 lakers lead by 19.

boy he's trying to make his own  statement of the reverse he does  

that's why he watched it watch this


kobe's at 58. dallas ought to found somebody  else in kobe beef now colby for three  

i don't believe it incredible 62 for toby

by the time the third quarter buzzer  had sounded bryant had single-handedly  

outscored the entire mavericks team  dropping a then career-high 62 points  

and becoming the first player to accomplish  defeat since the shot clock was introduced in 1954  

the big performance against dallas would be just  a glimpse at what was to come as the new year  

would also bring in a new level of play for the  laker star after scoring over 40 points in six  

of the first 10 games of 2006 his performances  thus far into the season had established bryant as  

the game's top scorer but a seemingly meaningless  sunday night game against the struggling raptors  

team on january 22nd would be the day kobe  bryant would officially become a legend  

the toronto raptors who were still trying  to find their identity as a franchise  

since the departure of star vince carter in the  early 2000s came into the game as a sub 500 team  

they were led by an aging jalen rose who was  infamous for trying to injure bryant in game 2  

of the 2000 finals and featured a budding  star in future hall of famer chris bosh  

but few people expected much from them as they  entered an away game with the staples center  

however as had been the story at times throughout  the season the lakers got off to a slow start with  

the raptors jumping out to an early 14 point lead  despite kobe scoring 26 points in the first half  

bryant had been a lone bright spot for los  angeles outscoring the rest of his teammates  

combined but it was obvious that in order to avoid  dropping an inexcusable game at home against an  

inferior opponent he'd have to take his game  to new heights we just wanted to win the game  

and uh you know in that type of  situation we were down by 18 20 points  

and uh we needed some energy that's the leader  of the ball club and i have to provide that spark  

yo-yo in the dribble and stops at the  top of the key well kobe's got his stroke  

didn't have it the other night for most of them  well yeah they're giving him the ball to see if he  

can add to him yes he does that's what toronto is  shooting right now that tells you what the link is  

going defensively toby again still six and a half  to play in the third he pulls up for a three yes  

kobe against kobe trying to move around bow pete  trying to put him up and finally shoots counted  

to the foul you talked about him being in one  of those zones he's definitely in it right now  

yeah i was just um feeling emotionally  the feeling i had was i could run all day  

the basket is pretty big i didn't  feel like i was in like one of those  

zones where the bass feels like a big bucket the  basket felt bigger and i could see everything  

that was going on before it was happening  will be with it now lakers lead 105.96

well there goes wilt

67 points kobe bryant

for free again

80 and 81.

kobe bryant 28 for 46 from the field this would  be 18 for 20 from below and an 81 point game 55  

in the second half ladies and gentlemen you have  witnessed the second greatest score performance in  

nba history and colby will be replacing listen  to this crowd for number eight holy birds

kobe's 81 points is seen as the standard for  elite offensive performances to this day but  

it also capped one of the greatest scoring months  in the history of professional basketball kobe had  

averaged 43.4 points per game in the month of  january the highest scoring output in a single  

month by any player not named wilt chamberlain and  had scored over 45 points in four straight games  

joining wilt and lakers legend elgin baylor as  the only players to ever accomplish the feat  

over the course of the rest of the season bryant  would continue putting up elite numbers all while  

leading the lakers to a 45-37 record clinching  the seventh seed in the western conference and  

accomplishing his goal of leading them back to  the playoffs for the first time without shaq  

kobe would win the nba scoring title for the  first time in his career averaging 35 points  

per game and becoming only the fifth player  in league history to average over 35 for an  

entire season this accomplishment was enough  to once again be named all nba first team and  

his efforts on defense earned him his fourth first  team all defensive honors despite controversially  

losing the mvp voting to sons point guard steve  nash bryant had more than re-established himself  

as one of the nba's top stars he had cemented  himself as the game's most dominant player the  

lakers would go on to lose in the first round of  the playoffs to the phoenix suns but not before  

going up 3-1 on the number two seed and forcing  them to fight back and take a seven game series  

they'd love to get into nash's hands and they  don't knocked away stolen by parker here comes

final seconds

it was clear that los angeles needed to add more  missing pieces to return to their previous place  

at the top of the western conference but what the  2006 season accomplished for kobe bryant may have  

been more important than any single playoff series  when faced with the crossroads in his career  

a point where he could have folded under the  pressures both on and off the court bryant  

chose to dig down deeper take the challenge  head on and mold his game into one of the  

most unstoppable offensive forces we've ever seen  from incredible performances to impossible shots  

kobe had proven time and time again throughout the  season that he was ready and willing to take on  

whatever opposing teams threw at him transforming  his game into what the world would come to know as  

the black mamba now as the season came to an end  and his former teammate shaquille o'neal was left  

holding another nba championship with his new team  the next step for kobe and the lakers was clear  

it was time to go get another ring by any means  necessary we're a tough competition some people  

sit there and say y'all keep talking about kobe  being the greatest player in the game today  

y'all don't realize that kobe trying to be  arguably the greatest ever your response i  

gotta get a couple more rings are you going to  yeah you know what i'm i won't rest until we do

the lakers have notified the league ryan  will wear 24 next year double flex reverse

one of our top stories the lakers adding  some firepower pulling off a blockbuster deal  

consult kobe bryant's new teammate 10 14  points for boards gazal that'll seal the deal  

it's coley bryant the recipient of the 2007 2008  nba most valuable player award after a 22-year  

absence the boston celtics are nba champions once  again kobe you won the mvp you led the team to  

the finals how do you characterize the season  well i mean the goal was to win a championship  

it wasn't to win vp or anything like that was to  win a championship so from that aspect we failed

from the moment the lakers entered training camp  in 2008 there was one word that was unanimously on  

everyone's mind revenge when we entered training  camp this year we were still very disappointed  

and almost angry in front of where our season  ended you know last year and you could feel it  

in the room you know the bad taste was still there  after what he would eventually call the greatest  

failure of his career kobe bryant had the  opportunity to represent the united states in  

the 2008 olympics in beijing where he helped lead  team usa to the gold medal once again proving that  

he was arguably the best player in the world now  as he headed back to los angeles to regroup ahead  

of the upcoming season the expectation for success  had been set and nothing less would be accepted  

over the course of the past year kobe and talented  big man pal gasol had formed one of the game's  

greatest one-two punches with bryant continuing  his dominance on his way to his first career mvp  

standing at seven feet tall gasol had been  a bright spot on a struggling grizzlies team  

but the triangle offense in la gave the talented  big plenty of opportunities to showcase his skill  

finally having a consistent second scoring option  for bryant the rest of the roster had fallen  

perfectly into place now well established with  the team lamar odom was the glue that held the  

offense together and promising young players like  andrew bynum and trevor ariza played important  

roles on both ends of the floor long time teammate  derek fisher was one of the most efficient point  

guards in the league and had the nba finals  experience needed to help kobe steer the ship  

each member of the roster had played a key  role in the lakers reaching the nba finals  

the previous year and now with the knowledge of  what it takes to get to the game's biggest stage  

bryant was determined to lead them back to the top  for redemption and this time he was going to do  

things his way he understood that without you and  everybody else being in that mode you know we were  

going to fall short so he had to have everyone  kind of buy in into his mindset of obsession for  

winning and competing and challenging everyone  and that's what it took to be a champion anxious  

to put the bitter loss in the nba finals behind  them los angeles got off to a strong start in 2008  

winning their first seven games on their way to  tying the franchise record for most wins to start  

a season by mid-december the team had hit their  stride compiling a 21-3 record and putting the  

entire league on notice perhaps the most notable  warning shot came on christmas day 2008 when the  

lakers matched up with the red hot celtics team  entering the game riding a 19-game winning streak  

the lakers defense had been elite all season and  combined with a 27 point performance from kobe  

they were able to beat down boston in the staples  center on their way to a nine point victory you  

know it's special obviously because there's  so much hype around him playing christmas day  

and uh you know everybody talking about us being  soft and so forth so i think we've gotten better  

and a better defensive system and i think we're  just a better boss while the lakers would continue  

to rack up wins with kobe being named the western  conference player of the month for december  

a moment during a late january contest against the  memphis grizzlies would test the mental strength  

of not only kobe but the rest of the team all  together bynum is hurt oh no oh no andrew bynum  

you can hear him screaming in pain and kobe bryant  landed right into his knee after missing over  

60 games the previous year due to injury andrew  bynum had been seen as the missing piece for the  

lakers going into this season and now facing the  possibility of losing the young big for another  

unknown amount of time it was easy to see  the uncertainty in the eyes of the lakers  

heading into a prime time game in madison square  garden there was no better opportunity for a  

statement from the black mamba i think we got  andrews will make a big difference for us now he  

goes down we know how long he's gonna be out for  the team was a little deflated i was pissed off  

you know what i mean because it's like no  we're winning the championship district come  

hella high water and my guys were down yeah and  going into new york big game i said all right  

i gotta send the message to my guys and say no  listen we're doing this i understand it's hard  

you went down but you're getting it done yeah  so it's important to get into that mind frame  

of no nothing matters and i want to talk to nobody  i want to see celebrities on the sideline don't  

doubt me don't say hi to me i don't care about  none of y'all tonight you just focus that was  

it now the length of wilson chandler up against  kobe and colby yeah what about that off the  

bench kobe over jammer after the crossover inside  the arc i don't care it's looked good didn't it  

by five he's got kobe on the wing and kobe  flying home two-hander by seven 27 for 24. on

that new york game i knew d'antoni's  philosophies are never the double got as high  

because he always thinks they're going to  cool off eventually right so i understood  

that so once i got rolling i knew that  was going to be the what a pivot case

121 103. 89 for kobe play at an incredible level  he's got it kobe bryant has now scored more points  

than any other player at madison square garden  with 61. by the end of the regular season kobe  

and the lakers had put together the second best  record in the nba finishing 65-17 and earning the  

number one seed in the west bryant has continued  his dominance averaging 26.8 points per game  

and five assists while once again securing spots  on both the all-nba first team and first team all  

defense that being said the time for the playoffs  had finally arrived and all individual honors took  

a back seat as kobe and the rest of los angeles  turned their attention to the season's main goal  

after gaining the experience of winning the  western conference playoffs the previous season  

the lakers entered the 2009 postseason with a  clear understanding of what it takes to reach  

the finals it's only one goal and that's to win  a championship they've been waiting to start  

the postseason again and they look like they are  primed for a long long run the first team standing  

in their way came in the form of the eighth seeded  utah jazz who were led by a young core of future  

all-stars and coached by the legendary jerry sloan  los angeles knew it couldn't take any opponent  

lightly and came out the gates aggressive winning  the first two games on their way to a 4-1 series  

victory and a ticket to the next round while the  lakers had looked the part of title contenders in  

round 1 waiting for them in round 2 was the hungry  houston rockets who despite losing superstar tracy  

mcgrady earlier in the year had still managed  to win 53 games behind future hall of famer yao  

ming the rockets embodied the underdog role with  one of the league's best defenders in ronnar test  

leading the charge and trying to take the lakers  out of their comfort zone the strategy would work  

to perfection as a gritty houston team would  shock the basketball world beating los angeles  

on their home court and sending a wake-up call to  the lakers despite kobe scoring 32 in game one the  

rockets had outhustled la behind yao's 28-point  and 10 rebound performance making it clear that  

this series would be anything but easy game 2 had  quickly become a must win for the lakers and with  

bryant being hungry as ever for the championship  he would lead his team as only he knew how

bryan has started this game four to five

kobe would drop 40 points in a crucial game  to win fighting through the rockets scrappy  

defense and proving that he was willing to go to  any lengths to carry his team to the nba finals  

right from the opening tip i want to be aggressive  you know get after a little bit you know we're  

being tested so you know this is the most fun  to be honest with you the rockets and lakers  

would split the next two games in houston with  used to picking up a huge victory in game four  

putting together an all-around team effort as star  big man yao ming had gone down with a fracture in  

his right foot los angeles would respond with a  massive 40-point win on their home court and an  

opportunity was presented to close the series out  in six games but once again they found themselves  

struggling to find ways to put away the rockets  as the very next game houston would scratch and  

claw its way to force a game seven with their  backs against the wall to an unexpected opponent  

los angeles would respond to the challenge  putting together one of their best efforts in  

the series behind the suffocating defense that  they had prided themselves on all season long  

the lakers ended the night with a 19 point  win and a well-earned ticket to the western  

conference finals it's a good experience to face  an elimination game to face the seesaw battle  

of a playoff series going up going down you know  it's i think it helps helps a team come together  

after the gruelling seven game series with houston  bryant and the lakers understood the importance of  

taking care of business in the conference finals  especially if they wanted some much-needed rest  

heading into the championship series matching  up with la at the top of the west was a strong  

denver nuggets team who behind young star carmelo  anthony and former finals mvp chauncey phillips  

had clinched the number two seed and were making a  case as legitimate contenders kobe and the lakers  

would start the series off strong with bryant  dropping 40 points and gasol dominating the  

paint on the way to a 2 point victory however  game two would be another fight to the finish  

with each team star going at each  other as carmelo and kobe combined for  

66 points in a showdown at the staples center  smith who sparks them off the bench has carmelo  

anthony hits another and continues his  hot hand brian drives inside the finish

anthony gets inside blocked from behind by  autumn that time he's foul and he puts it  

in and that's what we've been seeing from  anthony anthony on bryant ryan for three  

time neither team's defense could gain  control and as the dust settled the nuggets  

were able to pull out a hard fought 106 to  103 victory with the series headed to denver  

despite splitting the next two games to tie the  series up at two games a piece the lakers had a  

certain amount of composure with every guy in the  locker room knowing they had to avoid a repeat of  

the rocket series with a chance at redemption in  the finals on their minds los angeles would win  

to back games to close out the nuggets including a  35 point dagger performance by kobe bryant to send  

his lakers back to the game's greatest stage this  is where it becomes the greatest challenge for it

waiting for the lakers at the summit of the post  season was an unexpected but still dangerous  

opponent the number three seed orlando magic had  survived a gauntlet in the eastern conference  

knocking off the defending champion celtics in an  intense seven game series and then taking out the  

66 win top seeded cavaliers in six games the magic  were led by a young star big man in dwight howard  

who had put up over 20 points 14 rebounds and  three blocks per game during the regular season  

and they had a pair of talented forwards in  hito turcalu and richard lewis who made up  

a well-balanced scoring attack los angeles  entered the series as the favorites with  

few people expecting orlando to be able to compete  with their experience but after narrowly avoiding  

an upset earlier in the playoffs the lakers knew  not to take any opponent lightly as game 1 was  

underway at the staples center it was clear  the lakers had done their homework swarming  

dwight howard at every opportunity in an effort  to slow him down from there los angeles played  

the elite defense they had been known for all  season holding all magic players below 13 points  

and forcing their three main scorers to all  shoot below 27 from the field on the other end  

kobe had risen to the challenge once again  determined to make his mark on the series  

from the opening tip and fueled with the desire  to win another ring after a seven year drought

falling away tough shot punch today

as the shot clock expires a couple of beats

shot pocket two he's got to put it up  tries to back it does so and a foul

toby brian brilliant here in the third quarter  and the lakers up by 22. bryant would continue  

to hunt for his spots and stay aggressive  throughout the entire contest scoring 18  

points in the third quarter alone on his way  to a 40 point and eight assists performance  

the lakers would come out on top pulling off a  25 point victory to take game one and sending  

a message to the magic i just wanted so bad i  just wanted really bad so you know it's just uh  

you just put everything you  have into the game and then  

you know your emotions kind of flow out of you  anxious to put game one behind them the magic came  

out strong in game two with the talented forward  rashard lewis making his presence known early  

with so much attention being paid to howard lewis  had been able to get some good looks early on  

and he heated up quickly on his way to 18 points  in the second quarter alone you know lewis is  

the fight right now in a row i got an officer  rebound little jay corner right so we gotta put  

out that fight the lakers had remained aggressive  using their defense to spark momentum as they had  

all post season long and as the two teams  battled down the stretch it was the magic  

who had the ball with the chance to win at the end  of regulation again will trigger odom jumping up

having been given a gift  courtesy of the blown play  

the lakers would never look back in overtime as  the duo of kobe bryant and powder saw would prove  

just why they had become known as  one of the game's elite tandems

together the two would combine for 53 points  burying the magic's hopes for a game too upset  

and walking away with a well-earned five point  overtime victory still waiting for a big smile  

out of you you're up 2-0 what's the story are  you not happy or you're only half happy or  

instead to be happy about you're up too old  job's not finished job finished i don't think so  

with the series going back to orlando the magic  knew it was now or never to make a statement in  

the series the amway center hadn't seen an nba  finals matchup since shaq and penny ran the show  

in 1995 and the city was buzzing with excitement  kobe bryant however had other plans as he would  

start the game scorching hot dropping 17 points  in the first quarter to pull the lakers out to a  

four point lead heading into the second the magic  would respond with a run of their own as turcaloo  

and lewis poured in shots from the perimeter  and the orlando crowd witnessed their team  

put together their most impressive performance of  the series with 5 guys scoring at least 18 points  

the offensive onslaught would be too much for los  angeles with the magic on their way to a crucial  

four point winning game three it's a tough team  it's not a cupcake team it's a tough loss for us  

and um you know we feel like we can play much much  better so tomorrow just make your adjustments and  

get ready to go aware of the dangers that come  with giving an underdog opponent hope kobe and  

the lakers had no intentions of letting this  series get out of hand and from the moment game  

4 got underway it was clear that bryant wasn't  interested in seeing the series go on any longer

to the basket drive shots good out of foul  good move by bryant brian leans in puts it up  

top shot the magic refused to go down easy and  it took a big shot by the veteran derrick fisher  

to send the game to overtime but by the time  the final buzzer sounded the mamba had scored  

32 points and collected 8 assists in an 8  point win now with the championship in reach  

and orlando down 3 games to 1 there  was no question what was coming next

real quick and in 2000 we won the  championship against indiana and in game five  

we assumed that indiana was going to lay down and  we went in and got kicked royally by 30 points  

that's true so sunday when we show up here the  same determination fight grit belief confidence we  

got to show up with that again on sunday they're  not gonna quit you don't get this far and quit  

so let's enjoy this but  hey sunday man one more one  

on a mission that had spanned  the course of almost a decade  

looking to achieve his first championship in  the post-shack era kobe bryant entered game 5  

as focused as he had ever been in his career  he had made strides as a leader this season  

learning from past mistakes and committing  himself to guiding this team to championship  

glory as he had done all series long the game's  greatest closer came out of the gates attacking  

scoring 11 points in the first quarter with  the intent of crushing the magic spirits early  

everyone in the amway center crowd witnessed one  of the game's all-time greats rise to the occasion  

in the game that mattered most kobe bryant and the  finish this is mozart in sneakers or kobe bryant

ryan's looking to double t  gets it to go [ __ ] shots here  

ryan knocks it down but they're at their best  

he's making point wow speaking of making plays  brian thanks to them mama there goes that man  

behind his example the rest of the lakers followed  suit with trevor ariza continuing his elite  

defensive play and lamar odom knocking down big  shots off the bench to keep the lakers in front

as the seconds began to tick down the lakers  execution on both ends would prove to be too  

much for orlando and after a long journey of ups  and downs it was time for the purple and gold to  

celebrate the lakers are nba champions  once again la wins the 2009 nba title  

such a long journey so many ups and downs and so  many sacrifices for my family and me working hard

after the crushing defeat in the finals the  previous season kobe bryant had finally proven  

to the world that he could lead the lakers  to an nba championship over the course of  

the series bryant had averaged 32.4 points 7  assists 1.4 steals and 1.4 blocks per game a  

stat line that earned him his first career finals  mvp and made him the first player since michael  

jordan to average 30 points five rebounds and  five assists on the winning team in the finals  

fueled by years of public ridicule on court  team struggles and questions about if he could  

do it kobe had once and for all shown the world  that he was capable of anything he put his mind  

to it's rare in a career you get to the top of  the mountain and then you gotta start over again  

and then you get back up to the top of the  mountain again you just don't see that too often  

and um yeah i feel very fortunate and very  blessed to be in this situation and just proud

while winning his fourth ring the first without  shack was a career defining moment it was obvious  

that bryant still wasn't satisfied with easing  up his hunt for rings after all his idol and  

eventual mentor michael jordan had been able to  win six during the bulls historic run in the 90s  

and former teammate o'neill had  already been able to win his fourth  

a few years previously in miami kobe knew that in  order to be on the level of the all-time greats  

another ring was needed to properly fill out  his resume with phil jackson reprising his role  

as head coach and the core pieces of the roster  remaining intact going into the 2009-2010 season  

the lakers had already been seen as the favorites  but the addition of a familiar face who had given  

los angeles trouble in the 09 playoffs would be  a key ingredient to another title run ron artest  

who's actually a year younger than  kobe bryant joining the late show  

two years ago he told kobe bryant that he wanted  to help him win a championship and now that day  

has finally arrived how this was going to happen  so it wasn't like a surprise type thing i was  

like i said i wanted to be a teammate of his and  be a part of the lakers for a long time adding  

a proven score and elite defender in ronard test  rounded out an already championship caliber lineup  

in la and as the season got underway it was clear  that kobe and the lake show were once again on a  

mission you know the end result is repeating but  it's a whole other year we did last year was great

it's not that difficult to me just forget about it  move on to the next season's winners win it again  

after receiving the symbol of their  hard work from the previous season on  

opening night the lakers would win 18 of their  first 21 games to start the regular season  

looking invincible as the chemistry forged in  the postseason rolled over into the new year  

kobe bryant continued his reign as the game's  most talented scorer putting up 30 over nine  

times during that stretch and growing his  legend as one of the game's greatest closers  

with a collection of game-winning shots  that single-handedly propelled the lakers to

victory has just wanted for the lakers  

it was such a kobe moment i actually couldn't  be that mad because i looked down it's cool

the lakers

he is hard to believe even after the hot start  the middle of the season brought some adversity  

as some offensive struggles had added more  pressure on bryant to rise to the occasion  

something he never shied away from but it  didn't take long to see that his body was  

struggling to carry the load that his mind  was willing to came up beyond that fight

there's a variety of things that  went on with him in the course of

his finger you know hip situation hurts me  he finally had to submit to the fact that  

i'm doing a disservice to myself and i'm  gonna have to sit back here a little bit  

and recuperate while kobe was forced to step away  from the game for three weeks to get healthy prior  

to the playoffs the rest of the lakers stepped  up to fill his responsibilities on the court  

as an increase in team chemistry led to four  straight wins in his absence and as he returned  

the roster once again made strides down the home  stretch los angeles would end up finishing with a  

western conference best 57 wins clinching the  number one seed for the third straight season  

kobe bryant had been deadly as ever averaging  27 points and five assists on 46 shooting per  

game and becoming the youngest player to ever  score 25 000 points at the age of 31. once again  

taking his spot on the first team all-nba and  all defense the stars had once again the line  

for bryant to lead the lakers into the playoffs  and the quest for the elusive repeat championship  

was on despite once again being the west's  top seed there were still people who doubted  

the lakers ability for a back to back especially  after a few bad losses at the end of the regular  

season had left them looking vulnerable regardless  the postseason was a new opportunity to silence  

critics and the first team that stood in their  way was an uncharacteristically talented eight  

seed in oklahoma city the thunder featured the  youngest scoring champion in nba history as a  

21 year old kevin durant had taken the league by  storm in only his third season however just as  

the lakers had hoped the investment of ron artest  in the summer would pay off early in the series  

as the highly touted on ball defender would make  life difficult for durant holding him to just 29  

shooting in game one behind a big  double-double performance by pal gasol  

the lakers would secure an eight-point win at the  staples center then battled hard in game two in  

a close contest that saw bryant drop 39 points to  give la a 2-0 series lead still the young thunder  

refused to go down easy storming back in okc with  back-to-back wins of their own over the lakers  

something that los angeles hadn't experienced  since the 2008 finals where's the mind frame  

um i'm not sure i'm not sure but you know where  

we understand this is a tough test i mean you know  said being in a serious one gonna be easy it's  

gonna be a long series it's gonna be a dog fight  kobe and the lakers had to take care of business  

at home if they wanted to avoid a seven game  series in round one and after picking up a gritty  

24 point victory behind a big performance from  pal gasol it would be la with the chance to send  

the thunder packing in game 6. kobe bryant would  be locked in entering the contest determined to  

keep the thunder from extending the series after  a 16 point outburst in the third quarter by bryant  

to halt okc's momentum it was pau gasol  who would make the biggest play of the game

the utah jazz had high hopes for their third  chance in a row at facing the lakers in the  

postseason but quickly found themselves suffering  a familiar fate as despite their best efforts they  

couldn't prevent los angeles from pulling off  a four game sweep bryant had been relentless  

preventing any momentum from utah by answering  their runs with timely buckets and demoralizing  

performances after a poor playoff performance  against the jazz as a rookie that had been  

a driving factor in bryant's development into  one of the game's top stars there was something  

poetic about his play throughout the series kobe  would score over 30 in all four games including  

a combined 65 point outburst with pal gasol in  game 4 and now with extra time to rest before the  

western conference finals the lakers were once  again hitting their stride at the right time  

after defeating one of his former rivals it  was only fitting that waiting for kobe in the  

lakers in the conference finals would be another  team that had previously been an obstacle for la  

led by two-time mvp steve nash and all-star amari  stodomier the sons had revamped their roster under  

new head coach alvin gentry winning 54 games and  coming off a sweep of their own against the spurs  

it seemed like the series was all but decided  early on with kobe dropping 40 points on 56  

shooting in a 21 point game 1 win for la and  then the lakers pulling out a 12 point victory  

in game 2 behind a 29 point performance by  pal gasol to make the series 2-0 however as  

kobe knew all too well the suns were a resilient  team and with the series headed back to phoenix  

they would gain momentum on their home court  coming up with two wins of their own the first was  

thanks to a 42 point and 11 rebound master class  by omar stodomier and the second came from a hot  

shooting performance from their bench that would  hold off a 38 point effort by bright in game 4.  

with game 5 being a must win for la  they would respond how they had all  

season with kobe continuing his elite  play leading the charge for the lakers

similar to game six against the thunder this  contest would come down to the final possession  

and once again it was another member of the lakers  

who was willing to step up  when they were most needed

with all the momentum in the series following  ron artest's clutch play to win game 5  

the lakers would close the series out  with a convincing 8-point win in game 6  

with bryant sealing the sun's fate with yet  another big performance scoring 37 to send  

phoenix home and bring his average for the  series to a playoff best 33.7 points per game  

after another long playoff run kobe and the  lakers had once again reached the nba finals  

but this time it would be against  an opponent they knew all too well

putting together what many had called an  unprecedented roster at the time in 2007  

paul pierce kevin garnett and ray allen had  re-established the boston celtics as one of  

the league's top franchises with a well-rounded  roster that played well on both ends of the floor  

boston had taken the league by  storm in its first season together  

capturing the 2008 nba championship over  the lakers in an intense seven game series

now after narrowly missing the opportunity  for a rematch in the 2009 finals  

the celtics were back on top of the  east and hungry for another ring  

on the opposite side from the moment the final  buzzer sounded in 2008 kobe and the lakers had  

been hungry for a chance at revenge in a  series they felt should have been theirs  

something that still stuck with them even after  winning a title of their own the previous year  

two years later and with each team having split  the previous two championships the 2010 finals  

would be an ultimate showdown between the league's  two most historic franchises and it would be one  

of the most anticipated matchups in nba history  we're going right now right at tip off we're going  

this is our turn let's go go thomas at daytime  it was clear from the opening tip in game one  

that this was not the same lakers team from 2008  as they showcased a newfound toughness and grit  

that had been lacking in their first matchup  with boston behind strong efforts by pal gasol  

on both ends and a strong group effort to stifle  the celtics offense the lakers handled business  

on their home court kobe would finish the  game with 30 points 18 of which came in the  

second half to secure a 13 point win for los  angeles we gotta put our souls in this game  

you know what you're supposed to do but we gotta  go do it with only three teams ever coming back  

from an o2 deficit in the finals the celtics  knew they had to come out strong in game two  

and a big performance from one of their big  three would give them just the boost they  

as allen needed a three knocks it down ray allen  has the highest three-point percentage in nba  

finals history rebound game in these playoffs  back for allen a three that's good from

behind the start to one of the greatest  shooting performances in nba finals history  

long time rival of kobe bryant ray allen would  knock down seven threes in eight attempts in the  

first half finding ways to get free of the lakers  defense and showing exactly why he was the nba's  

all-time leader in three-pointers made the third  quarter saw los angeles fight back with a balanced  

attack courtesy of the triangle offense and as  the game entered the fourth both teams were locked  

in a standstill this wouldn't last long though  with another celtics stepping up in crunch time  

as reijon rondo's 10 points in the final quarter  would spark boston's offense and secure a 103  

94 boston win in the staples center allen would  end the game with 32 points including the record  

for most threes ever in a finals game at the time  and just like that the series was tied up heading  

across the country to boston i love being  the enemy and haters especially when you win  

nothing like it this could be the last time  you played here better not be the last time  

but you could be you don't change your  ways kobe bryant had struggled in game two  

scoring only 21 points on 20 shots and being  unable to get a rhythm going as the celtics  

defense smothered him on every possession  now with a pivotal game three on the line  

he would be on a mission to establish himself  in the series once again standing in his way  

was future hall of famer kevin garnett who after  struggling in the first two games of the series  

would find his offensive touch early on going  right at the lakers and playing with the emotion  

that had defined his career in the back and  forth contest kobe would lead the charge for la  

rising to the occasion by scoring 29 points  and contributing in big moments as the series  

once again came to a close fourth quarter he's  not giving him any aspects making those guys

kobe bryant let me ask everybody here  

they would have told us before the game even  started we could go fast forward to the beginning  

of the fourth quarter and you're gonna be up  six in the nba finals to win the title what we

in crunch time it would be 35 year old derrick  fisher who had built a reputation for clutch  

performances that would put together an 11 point  outburst to push the lakers ahead in a 91-84 win  

just one game after giving up home court advantage  la had taken it right back securing a 2-1  

lead once again feeling the pressure boston  knew that game 4 was another opportunity to  

swing the momentum of the series and once again  they would respond the way champions do behind a  

strong overall team performance led by long-time  celtic paul pierce boston would pound the ball in  

the paint attacking the ram and forcing the lakers  to stop them inside the strategy would work early  

on but once again la would make a mid-game run  that kept things close entering the final minutes

allen is on kobe bryant tough shot gets him to  go he wants the ball brown's got a little quiet  

kobe bryant drills the 3-1 this time however  it would be boston who would make a clutch run  

as they outscored the lakers by 10 points in  the fourth quarter on their way to a seven point  

victory kobe had been relentless in the final  quarter getting to the free-throw line at will and  

contributing 12 points in the fourth alone but an  unexpected bench performance from glen davis and  

nate robinson would be the game's deciding factor  feeling all the momentum now after watching their  

bench put away the lakers in game 4 the celtics  were anxious to make a statement in front of their  

home crowd for game 5. behind 15 first half points  on his way to his best performance of the series  

paul pierce would help propel the celtics  to a 7 point league going into halftime  

but boston was met with an aggressive kobe  bryant who was doing everything he could to  

provide an offensive spark for his team  there kobe bryant oh what a tough shot  

perkins good help defense there brian again one  dribble again from three-point range kobe bryant  

ten points in less than four minutes here in the  third quarter despite scoring 19 points in the  

third quarter and finishing the game with a total  of 38 brian and the lakers were unable to contain  

boston's big three who combined for 32 of their  team's points on their way to a pivotal game 5 win  

los angeles now had their backs against  the wall for the first time this season  

facing a 3-2 series deficit and needing to win  two games in a row against one of the league's  

most dominant teams in order to keep their  championship hopes alive challenges down 3-2

and unrattled head coach phil jackson  the lakers enter game 6 knowing that  

in order to win the series they'd have  to put the last two games behind them  

all you have to do is win two home games  and you're the champion if you can't do that  

you're not the champion the lakers it's in  their hand with the staples center buzzing  

and home court advantage in full effect the lakers  would come out swinging while facing elimination  

immediately getting after the celtics at every  opportunity this fire spread to every laker on  

the floor from kobe gasol in our test all the  way to guys on the bench playing big minutes  

every player on the roster knew that this would  not be their final game together they would hold  

boston to only 67 points their lowest total of  the playoffs and kobe would provide the knockout  

punch thanks to a 26 point 11 rebound and 4 steal  performance that sealed a 22 point victory for la  

the lakers had responded to the adversity and came  up big when it mattered most forcing what was sure  

to be one of the most iconic game sevens in nba  history not you know for for us it's really just  

doing what we do i mean you can't really enjoy  the moment when you're in it you know in terms of  

you know what's happening you just you just got a  job to do you go out there and you do it and then  

then you can look back on it after the fact but  during you just gotta go out there and do your job  

on june 2010 the lakers and celtics would face off  in the most watched nba finals game since michael  

jordan's final game as the bulls beat the jazz in  1998 the build up to the game was a fan's dream  

the nba's two most iconic franchises in a  winner takes all match up for the championship  

for kobe bryant this matchup meant a final  chance at redemption for the lost two years prior  

and presented yet another chance  to etch his name in history books  

as the game got underway it was the celtics  who would strike first hungry to make sure  

they didn't let their chance at another title  slip away rondo would be a key factor early on  

finding his teammates and helping boston jump out  to an early nine point lead kobe had struggled  

to find his footing early on but it was the  contribution of ron artest in the second quarter  

both offensively and defensively that would  allow the lakers to go on a run of their own

the two teams would go back and forth for the rest  of the half with boston up six as the dust settled  

and the two teams headed to their locker rooms  as the second half began it was now the lakers  

who would come out as the aggressors scratching  and clawing their way towards only being down  

4 points heading to the 4th the entire series and  season would come down to this final 12 minutes  

having added ronard test in the offseason  to help defend their championship crown  

the lakers would once again see their decision  pay off as artest would continue his inspired  

play on both ends and fuel the lakers during  an intense crunch time run that would see them  

take the lead kobe remained aggressive drawing  fouls as the celtics scrambled to contain him  

and knocking down big free throws to keep the  lakers ahead boston refused to go down easy with  

rasheed wallace knocking down a big triple to  cut the lead to three with only a minute left  

but this time it was kobe's trust in another laker  that would be the deciding moment of the game

2010 nba champions  

it was it was a heck of a series man when we split  and lost the second one here going up to boston  

that was the most fun i think we've had because  our backs were against the wall and it it's tough  

going into the garden and winning and then going  down 3-2 and then having to bounce back and win  

this is the sweetest one during the series bryant  had averaged 28.6 points and two steals per game  

overcoming boston's increased defensive pressure  and now being named nba finals mvp for the second  

consecutive year the first player to earn the  honor in back-to-back years since his former  

teammate shaquille o'neal did it during the lakers  3p in a way this may have been as symbolic as any  

other aspect of kobe's second championship run not  only was he able to prove that he was capable of  

winning more rings without shaq but he did so  in his own way with a team that was designed to  

play around him and with his mentality few of the  all-time greats have been fortunate enough to win  

multiple rings back to back in different eras but  the way kobe was able to do it with two completely  

different rosters and with two very different  play styles just speaks to his ability to adapt  

and constantly grow as a player in the end this  will always be what made him special and now  

he had five rings and a lot of silenced critics to  show for it the challenge was issued right wrongly  

and different people saying well kobe can't win  without shaq i said okay you know what i'll shoot  

i'll show you and so from that point it  was became personal for me i knew that  

you know winning the championship meant  more to me than it did to everybody else  

i treat this as life and death and come hella  hot water that's what i was going to get done

i've always said that i wanted  to be remembered as a player that  

didn't waste a moment then waste a day and

i felt extremely blessed by the god-given talent  but at the same time i didn't take take it for  

granted at all and so if i could be remembered as  a person that was born with a lot of talent but  

did everything he could to try to overachieve  and lived every day as if he was the 12th guy  

on the bench you know i think that's a very  powerful message to have and something that  

hopefully the players that are now and players  that'll come later choose to embody as well


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