As an introduction to a text about arguably the greatest after Jordan, I will use one anecdote I read a long time ago on reddit (I think it was reddit).
Summer 2012 in Las Vegas, the preparations of the American national team before leaving for the Olympics. The story was told to reddit.com by a certain fitness trainer Robert, who was in charge of training with NBA stars, and that’s how he met Bryant. He immediately established a good relationship with them, they exchanged numbers with each other and told them to call him whenever they wanted good fitness training. However, he certainly wasn’t expecting a call at 4 a.m., but Kobe called him just then, asking, “Hey, Robert, can you come do some training?” An invitation that is not rejected, and Robert entered the training hall in about twenty minutes. He saw Bryant in the corner kicking, wet to the skin. This was followed by a two-hour training session, where work was done on fitness and strength. The coach got ready, said goodbye to Bryant, and went on his way. At 11 a.m., national team training was scheduled, where Robert had to reappear. And he came, and again in the same corner he saw Kobe shooting at the basket. He approached him and said, “Hey, Kobe, the training was good, wasn’t it? When did you finish? ” He received an express response: “Yes, good, thank you. Finished what? ” Robert asked again, “So shooter training?” Bryant said coldly, “Right now. I wanted 800 hits. ”
Is there anything more to add? So much training before the Olympics, and even without it, the United States would easily wipe the floor with all the national teams. Seven hours of uninterrupted work, at the age of 34 and with five rings and gold from the previous Olympics. A ruthless genius, and yet an unseen hardworker. Kobe Bryant!
This is his story.
Kobe Bryant was born on 23. August 1978 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He was the last child of Joe and Pam Bryant, and had two older sisters – Sharia and Shaya. Still, life in the Bryant family was not so easy. His father, Joe, a high school play legend John Bartram, was in the middle of a pro basketball career that took him to three different countries, so there was a lot of packing suitcases and travel. “Jellybean Joe” was ahead with the skills of a classic playmaker, but never found his place in the NBA. After three fantastic years at the University of La Salle, he was drafted by the Warriors. But he never got a real chance there, so he sought his place in other franchises, recording 606 games for the Sixers, Rockets and Clippers (then the San Diego Clippers) where he scored an average of 8.7 points. He also had his exhibition in Europe, more precisely in Italy and France, where he still showed a glimmer of his talent, enough for the easy life of his loved ones. It is never known why such high school talent could not find its place under the stars. Some are of the opinion that he was not patient and could not wait for his chance, while others are convinced that he was far ahead of his time. Anyway, he gave birth to the superstar of Los Angeles, and one of the greatest ever ..
Kobe ate, slept and breathed basketball. When he was born, his father signed for the Clippers, and a change of environment came in handy for the Bryants. Sunny California suited them very well, especially the children because there were very few rainy days, so they could spend most of the days on the playgrounds. At the age of three, Kobe fell in love with a hoop and a basketball. He told people he wanted to become an NBA superstar. Usually the reactions were like raising an eyebrow or a smile. None of them even suspected that the three-year-old was telling the truth. In the summer of 1982, the Bryants packed their bags and headed to Texas and Houston, which was then signed by Bryant of the Clippers. Kobe began to understand his father’s “business” and the NBA was increasingly on his mind. He still didn’t see his role model in Dad. His hope was Magic Johnson – a playmaker in the body of a classic forward, as opposed to his father. Since Magic was a Lakers legend, Kobe marked the Lakers as his favorite franchise.
However, Joe stayed in the Rockets for only one season, and when they did not want to offer him a new contract, he left for Italy. The migration odyssey continued. Life in Italy was especially difficult for his children, as the foreign language made it even more difficult for them to meet and talk to friends at school. Every day after school, they learned phrases and words from the Italian language together. Within a few months, they spoke Italian very fluently and understood it perfectly. And there, in Rieti, Joe turned into that prodigy from the streets of Philadelphia. 30-40 points on average, were quite enough to raise the financial situation in the family, and the people in that town began to appreciate the Bryants. The salary grew and grew, and although some at the time thought the departure of NBA players to such a small club was a disaster, Bryant found his own piece of fame right there. And Kobe followed his father’s every step closely, and would be present at his every training session. He scanned his moves, dribbles, passes and tried to emulate them on the court. His whole life revolved around his father’s basketball schedule. Such a lifestyle, watching his father’s dunks and no-look passes, further inspired Kobe and he began to dream more and more about the NBA. It is also interesting that, then obsessed with football, the Italians advised the Bryants to enroll Kobe in a football club, because they believed that because of his long arms, agility and good reflection he could become a world-class goalkeeper. However, Kobe remained in the basketball world thanks to his grandparents. They sent a video with some basketball games directly to Italy, so that Kobe and Joe could spend time watching them together. Then Joe advised Kobe on TV and told him what to do and what was not very desirable. Kobe was a boy who understood this game very easily, and with a couple of shots, he already had a vision and could read what kind of action was being played.
Kobe honed his basketball skills every summer, when the Bryants returned to Philadelphia. He competed, at just 10 years old, in the high-powered Sonny Hill league where he played against boys 3-4 years older than him. It is also worth noting that Uncle John helped him a lot in maintaining readiness, as well as in all areas where he felt he needed progress.
Joe Bryant spent the 1991/1992 season in France, which again fell hard on his children who had to attend a school as much as a 2-hour drive away. After the end of that season, Joe decided to retire and retire permanently to the United States. By then, Shaya and Sharia were already thinking about college, while Kobe was supposed to go to high school. After Joe accepted the position of assistant coach at La Salle, he bought a house in Ardmore, a suburb about 10km from Philadelphia. Kobe watched the landscape change with different feelings. He had never been able to connect and meet American children, so he was afraid that he would not be able to fit into society. But basketball always went much better for him than anything else. 1992. He was named the best player in the Sonny Hill league, and when he enrolled in Lower Merion High School, he started going to the gym and looking for the so-called pick-up games (unorganized basketball play). He then befriended Eddie Jones, the then point-guard of the Owls team.
Life outside the ring was not so easy. In Europe, he was always protected from various temptations, because he was quite a quiet and peaceful American kid, so returning to the United States brought him a lot of problems. Although he was a solid student, the problem was created by dramas and problems in the school hallways that were impossible to avoid. After his first year, he began to get a little used to everyday life in high school. His basketball life continued to progress, and with 6’5 ’’ he already realized his place would be in the backcourt. He started thinking and practicing as a guard, and gained a lot of knowledge thanks to high school team coach Gregg Downer. He often liked to work with him alone, or show others by his example some exercises or moves. But, although very talented, Kobe didn’t have much experience, so he was quite “easy” to take care of the older boys from high school. But it didn’t take long for the “Black Mamba” to flash. In the 94/95 season, he was named Pennsylvania’s best player, with impressive numbers of 31.5PPG, 10.8RPG and 5.2AS. As he was a “sponge for absorbing moves”, he would often present his crossover to his defenders, after which they would fly to one side and Kobe with the ball to the other. Many moves were also taught to him by his teammate from the AAU team, God Shammgod. After embarking on his final year of high school, college representatives began knocking on the Bryants ’door. All the bells boasted of his excellent grades, and fantastic stats and no less, at the top of the list of offers he received were Duke, North Carolina, Michigan and Villanova.
But when a kid from Chicago, Kevin Garnett, was selected in the first round of the 1995 NBA Draft. year, Kobe was seriously considering skipping college and applying for the draft. That summer, Joe arranged for his son to work with 76ers members, and Kobe did not let him down. He was absolutely fantastic, and left an impressive impression on members of the ABCD All-American Camp in New Jersey. He did the final year of high school as well as possible. With his brilliant game, he brought the team to a ratio of 32 wins and only three defeats, and secured them their first national title after 42 years. The name of the school began to appear in newspapers, the team found its place on the high school basketball map, and Coach Downer began accepting invitations to various tournaments. That season, Kobe finished with a figure of 30.8PPG, bringing him to 2,883 points scored during school and thus breaking the Pennsylvania record set four decades earlier – by Wilt Chamberlain.
The real madness started after the end of that season. Joe received an offer for a coaching job from an unknown Italian team, and the management of the same asked that his son be involved in that job and become their new member. But none of that mattered, as Kobe, along with several fellow high school seniors, including Jermaine O’Neal, Earl Lester, and Tim Thomas, seriously considered the path Garnett had chosen the year before – the NBA Draft. Rumors that Bryant skipped college did not subside, but Kobe did nothing to silence them either. Simply, it was obvious that this draft would also get a 17-year-old. Kobe solved all the dilemmas at a press conference at the Lower Merion gym. With a few friends from the Boyz II Men RNB group from Philadelphia by his side, he announced that he wants to show his talent in the strongest league in the world – in the next draft. Immediately a lot of dust arose, he signed contracts with Addidas and Sprite, as well as with the William Morris agency. The impressions of basketball connoisseurs were mixed. There has been a comparison to Grant Hill or Anfernee Hardaway – but everyone has agreed that Kobe possesses greater offensive potential than the aforementioned duo. However, others criticized Pam and Joe for the allegedly bad decisions made by their son. Either way, Kobe came out on the draft that year. Speculation began as to whether Kobe would be in the lottery or not, and in designs the first four pussies were Marcus Camby, Allen Iverson, Ray Allen and Stephon Marbury. The Lakers were the first to spot Kobe and knew he was destined for big things. Impressed by its wide range of offensive solutions. they decided to arrange a 1v1 between Bryant and Dontae ‘Jones. Kobe wiped the floor with the Mississippi State star, and left a huge impression on the Lakers scouts.
On NBA Draft Day, Jerry West, the GM Lakers, began his magical moves. He first chose one of Derek Fisher ‘s best defensive PGs as the 24th. pick the first round. Kobe was elected as the 13th. pick by the Charlotte Hornets, and West took advantage of Divac and in the trade with the Hornets got Bryant while Divac went the way of Charlotte. Then an additional salary cap was created, which allowed the Lakers to sign Orlando’s free agent Shaquile O’Neal. The foundations of the Lakers dynasty that will rule for the next few years were laid in that draft. At that time, the roster was enriched by Fisher, Shaq and Kobe, and when we add to that the undeniable talents in the form of Nick Van Exel, Eldan Campbell and Bryant’s old friend Eddie Jones, success was guaranteed. Something that further enabled Kobe to develop and progress was Lakers coach Del Harris, who once led the Rockets – just that season when Joe played for them. Kobe was overjoyed, he couldn’t have imagined the development of the situation better, in his favorite club, as one of the main players – an indescribable feeling.
Kobe signed a three-year, $ 3.5 million contract with the Lakers and then scored an average of 25 points for the Lakers’ “summer” team. Just as everything in his childhood revolved around his father, now everything revolved around him. He bought a house in the Pacific Paliseades, Joe quit his coaching position at La Salle, and they all moved to California. At the Venice Beach Games, Kobe suffered a minor wrist injury, but again enough to miss a few weeks of training with the team. Harris decided to wait with Bryant’s debut though, so this one missed a few games of his rookie season. Interestingly, Bryant made his debut against Garnett and the Timberwolves. In the six minutes spent in the game, he had one shot and one turnover. Harris had a wide roster at his disposal, so there was no need for the teen to be pushed into the fire too often. However, things changed in January. The thinning of the roster led to a record. Kobe became the youngest NBA starter ever, at just 18 years old, five months and five days old. A few weeks later, on an All-Star weekend, Kobe scored 31 points in a Rookie game and won the Slam Dunk Contest – the first Lakers player to win it.
Those were the highlights of the season for him. With injuries to key players, including O’Neal, the Lakers were easily eliminated in the second round of the playoffs by the Utah Jazz. Kobe, who played only in April and March, finished his rookie season with just under 8 points per game. Delo Harris’s genius came to the fore again. He decided to “install” Kobe as the sixth man, and the move turned out to be a great solution. Kobe immediately improved his numbers, playing between 20-30 minutes each match, scoring 18.8PPG and doing some key things in the game. The Lakers came up with a streak of 11 straight wins, and even when O’Neal was injured, the whole team flourished abruptly, Van Exel, Campbell, Fisher, Fox, Kobe – all bringing victories to the team from the City of Angels with their points. Michel Jordan’s successor was then sought, and many saw him right in Kobe, so he was chosen as the youngest starter of an All-Star game ever. However, Kobe did not do well in that match. He had one huge problem – he didn’t share the ball enough. His selfishness caused irritation among his older colleagues, so even the conversation with Jordan did not improve the situation much. It is undeniable that everyone then knew that Kobe would one day be a star, but then he was not. When Harris realized they hadn’t found a solution for his excessive ball retention, he cut his minutes. That just lit the light in Bryant’s head, and he started rehearsing his defensive roles and working more for the team rather than his stats.
They opened the post season with a series of wins over the Portland Trail Blazers. Next were the Sonics. Although Kobe had limited playing time due to the flu he was fighting, even after losing the first match, the Lakers scored four wins and advanced to the Western Conference finals. Utah Jazz was waiting for them there, although Kobe was completely ready and healthy, the Lakers were declassified by the more experienced and calm Jazz.
NBA Lockout 1998. years
NBA Lockout 1998. years, he turned many things in Kobe’s life. He decided to further pepper his life, and recorded a hip-hop CD that (unfortunately) was never released. He also met Vannesa Laine, a 17-year-old who was a dance teacher, and the two were married (albeit against the will of their parents, because both sides thought they were too young to live together). A quarrel with the family, led to a brief departure from them and the Bryants did not attend the wedding. When these problems off the floor were solved, a new season began. The Lakers went very sharp again, signing Dennis Rodman, replacing Harris’ assistant Kurt Rambis, and trading Campbell and Jones in the Hornets for BJ Armstrong, Glen Rice and JR Ried. Kobe settled in the Lakers ’top five, and that season led the team in the number of stolen balls. He improved his game at both ends of the field, and although he had an inconsistent jumper, Harris increasingly gave him the ball in his hands at key moments, which Kobe used in most cases. The Lakers breathed some other lungs, Rodman gave that needed experience to the team, Rice gave the necessary width and Shaq and Kobe filled opponents to the top. The regular season has been very successful for the Lakers, but that’s not all there is to them. That jealousy was sensed on the Shaq-Kobe route and the bad atmosphere was more and more prevalent in the locker room of “Jezeraša”. Although Harris tried to calm down the situation between the two on several occasions, the bad relationship still persisted.
Problems off the floor did not shake the Lakers in the first round against the Rockets. Houston was slightly swept away with four wins in a row, to be awaited in the second round by the heated Spurs. They lost the first game, to have everything in their hands in the second, but Kobe missed a few clean shots, so the Spurs celebrated again, although thanks to the opponent’s mistakes. Later, morale dropped and they succumbed to the great Spurs who washed them away in the next two games – four wins and the Lakers’ infamous performance were the main topic of the NBA portal. Changes were needed, and West knew it.
Phil Jackson and LA LAKERS
Phil Jackson sat on the Lakers bench the following season and immediately pulled a couple of moves. He brought in Tex Winter and established his “Triangle Offense” West knew he had to solve problems with Shaq and Kobe if he wanted to do anything next season, and Jackson was ideal for the job as he already had a similar case in the Bulls with Pippen and Jordan . Phil was again on a well-known task – merging two individual personalities into a killer duo.
Kobe was excited about the opportunity to play for a proven winner like Jackson and spent most of the off-season improving his speed and footwork in defense. Since the start of the season, Kobe and Shaq have looked different on the floor together. In Jackson’s game system, the ball moved more freely and there was less standing around. With an addition in the form of veteran Ron Harper, the Los Angeles Lakers had all the ingredients for the ring. They won the first 25 of 30 matches, the chemistry in the team grew and everyone was happy, especially Kobe and Shaq. They won first place in the conference, gaining the advantage of the home floor in the then newly opened Staples Center, and Shaq was unstoppable and the first choice in the race for MVP.
Kobe, meanwhile, enjoyed his best season as a professional. After missing the first 15 games due to a broken bone in his right arm, he fitted perfectly into the game system with his teammates and became a complete player. His shot selection was much better jumps and scoring effects increased, and he relied more on his shot from the outside, which paid off. The most notable improvement was his defense, especially in the 1in1 game. In a win over the 76ers in February 1999, Kobe completely isolated Allen Iverson in the fourth quarter, when he had a 0-9 shot from the game. It was that kind of effort that gave him a spot on the NBA defensive team of the season.
In the playoffs, the Lakers underestimated the Kings a bit, but despite the squeak, they finished the job in five games. Then they faced the more mentally relieved Suns, which they managed to overcome thanks to a much better roster. In the finals of the Western Conference, they were welcomed by the Blazers. In the seventh game, the Blazers had everything in their hands – +13 in the fourth quarter. But the Lakers ’phenomenal return enabled them to make the final against Reggie Miller and the Indiana Pacers. Although Indiana was a better team at the time, the Lakers won their first title since 1988. years in six games. The Lakers won the first game, and in the second Kobe suffered an injury and spent the rest of the game. Then the mentally stronger Indiana managed to get the Lakers led by Shaq and equalize things. Game three brought a lot of excitement, but Shaq, with the help of his teammates, managed to regain the lead to the Lakers. In the fourth game, Kobe returned from injury and limped around the entire first quarter. After Indiana made a significant advantage, “Black Mamba” worked in the third quarter by scoring 10 consecutive points, and bringing the Lakers back to life. Then Jackson told his teammates to pass the ball to Kobe so he could take the shot to win. And the basketball virtuoso returned the trust with a great performance, and took the Lakers to a big 3-1. The first ring after 1988. year for Kobe represented a lot, and after such an exhausting season, he took a short break. However, an unplanned invitation to the Olympics shortened his vacation period, but he did it well because he was healthy and in good shape in Sydney again.
The following season, Jackson refreshed the roster again by giving him energy in the form of Horace Grant and Greg Foster in the trade between NYK and the Supersonics. The regular season was not as successful as last, primarily because the roster was ravaged by injuries, first Shaq, then Fisher and Kobe and all three missed a certain part of the games. Still, everyone was ready a few games before the playoffs and again the Lakers headed for the stars. They wiped the floor with the Kings, Blazers and Spurs, meeting the Sixers in the final. Kobe scored 48 points with 16 rebounds in the fourth game against the Kings, with a shot from the game about 51%. Against the Sixers, they played the first game worse, which the opponents knew how to use and take a 1-0 lead. But that was all there was to Philadelphia, the Lakers winning the next four games and defending the title. At just 22, Kobe had two rings behind him. Although he had a fantastic season behind him, Kobe did not stop perfecting his talent. According to some reports, in the off-season period, he fired 1,000 jumpers every day to perfect his game on the perimeter. The Lakers have made small changes in the next season, but they give extra energy to the team. Grant left the team and became a free agent, and Samaki Walker was brought in, Harper announced the end of his professional career, while guard Linsdey Hunter arrived from the Bucks in exchange for Greg Foster. Again a good season opener for the Lakers (16 wins in 17 matches) could be freely sewn to the name of Kobe Bryant. The man opened the season impossibly well, although Shaq was out due to a list injury and Fisher did not play a single match out of those 17, Kobe managed to be both the team’s top scorer (25PPG), and one of the key players in defense, and eventually according to statistics, he was the best playmaker for the Lakers. Interestingly, Kobe had his fourth All-Star performance in his hometown of Philadelphia. Although he was the MVP of that match, with 31p, 5as and 5reb, he heard only whistles from the stands, which surprised him a lot. He later learned that the reason for the audience’s indignation was the brutal destruction of the Sixers last year in the finals, when he literally “got” them himself. In the playoffs, they passed relatively easily again, all the way to the finals of the Western Conference where Sacramento revolvers led by Divac, Bibby and Webber were waiting for them. Although they just tuned the Lakers in three matches, Shaq and Kobe with the help of Robert Horry who played probably the best matches of their career, managed to defeat them, but Divac & co really particularly bothered Jackson’s eternal winners. In the battle for the ring, the Nets were run over by the Lakers, primarily because they had no solution in the racket for the ruthless Shaq. Although Shaq was the MVP for the third time in a row, Kobe played very good games and in the last match hit a key shot that dashed all hopes of the New Jersey team .. Jackson is the winner again, the Lakers have become an unstoppable dynasty ..
The three-time champion was a dream everyone dreamed of, but four rings in a row was a dream come true. After the Lakers left without Shaq the following season, it all fell on Bryant’s shoulders and he played under a lot of pressure. Although he recorded carrer-high numbers in every segment of the game, the Lakers lost some matches they had smoothly won in previous seasons and all the criticism fell on Bryant. And when Shaq returned, a bad run of champions continued. Of particular note is the 22-point defeat in New Jersey, which no one expected at the time. But the rise happened again at the end of the regular season and the champions played champions. Kobe was again the main catalyst. In January, he tied 9 games with at least 40 points, including a carrer-high against the Rockets where he scored 52 points. The Lakers won 8 of 9 games where Kobe was at 40+, and many withdrew their statements about the bad atmosphere in the team. They finished the regular season with a ratio of 50-32, and again became the biggest favorite in the West. In the first round, they faced the TWolves, who defeated them in two of the first three matches. Shaq was motivated and healthy, but apparently tired from the excessive pace that followed immediately after recovering from injury, and Kobe continued to sift and finished second in the scorer standings with 30.1PPG (behind the magical T-Mac). Although Minnesota scalped them twice, Kobe woke up with both 31.2PPG and 5.9AS in the following games, allowing the Lakers to jump over this hurdle and dedicate themselves to the San Antonio Spurs. Minnesota seemed to shake up the champions at the time, and after two defeats by the Spurs, many wrote them an “obituary” and hinted at the end of their dynasty. However, guess who brought them back to life at the Staples Center. With his 39 and 35 points in two matches, Kobe leveled the situation and headed for new victories. In the fifth match, the Spurs started sharply and entered 4/4 with +20. A catalyst called Kobe restarted the Lakers series, and after a furious comeback, the hearts of the fans were broken by Horry’s shot for the win that didn’t go through the hoop and the Spurs won 96-94. It was a heartbreaking defeat, and in the next match the Spurs settled everything in a blowout and a 28-point win. That was the end for the Lakers in terms of the 2003 season.
Again next year they made an impossibly good roster, to the already existing two superstars Shaq and Kobe, they brought The Mailman (Malone) and Gary Payton, the future Hall Of Famere. They started in that style, 20 wins in 25 matches and dominated the West. In the playoffs, they easily made it to the finals as they tore the Rockets in the first round where Malone proved there was still gas in that old lighter, and the Rockets fell in five games. Later, both the TWolves and the Spurs were defeated, and Malone again played a key role in the victory over the Wolves where he completely destroyed Garnett who was absolutely isolated and powerless. They were absolute favorites in the final against the Pistons, and Payton and Malone had already seen the ring in their biographies before the matches. However, Pistons coach Larry Brown had a different vision. He devised a fantastic system where Shaq was non-stop doubled by Wallace (Rasheed and Ben) while in the attack Billups and Hamilton took the lead and broke down all prejudices. Although Kobe brought the Lakers back to life at least briefly as a game-winner in the OT, LAL could not win more than once. Brown outsmarted his colleague and the deservedly underrated Pistons took away the dreams of Malone and Payton.
After two frustrating defeats, two seasons in a row failed and failed, Kobe felt like a redundancy or so-called. third banana on the team, so that problem was quickly resolved as well. Jackson resigned as team coach, while Shaq traded in the Heat for Lamar Odom, Caron Butler and Brian Grant. With Chucky Atkins in the PG position, and with Chris Mihm in the racket, Kobe remained the only player in the top five to face Detroit in 2004. years in the finals. However, that team could not take a step and enter the playoffs. They won matches, primarily thanks to Bryant’s magic, but stayed “below” and missed the playoffs that season. Kobe finished the season with an average of 27.7PPG, and it is important to note that a good part of the season was out due to an ankle injury, and when he returned, Odom was injured by an accident, so they rarely played a game in the strongest team. The Lakers had nowhere to go, it was known that this team did not have a “future” in front of them because they had no one to sort them out. But then Phil returns to the Lakers bench because he saw the Odom-Bryant tandem as once Pippen-Jordan which awakened in him a desire to win. Although the rotation was not so good, there were names on the bench like Kwame Brown, Smush Parker, Milm who were not players able to change the rhythm of the game, Kobe and the team from the top five managed to save things. That season, Kobe showed that he knows how to time the game – when to score a three-pointer and when to calm down and play a longer attack, so he finished the season with an incredible 35.4PPG. Then the Raptors felt the virtuoso magic of Kobe Bryant scoring 81 points – the most after Wilt Chamberlain in NBA league history. It just shows what a regular season it was for Kobe, and when you have such a “howitzer” in the team, you can’t miss the playoffs – no way.
Jackson took the best of all the players, Odom, Brown and even Parker had a really nice season behind them and with the relentless Bryant, they welcomed the Suns in the first round of the playoffs. The result after four games was 3-1 for the Lakers, who were obviously “put to sleep” by such a development, and although Kobe scored 50 in the next game, the Suns managed to neutralize the Lakers’ attacks and cross the spear with the Clippers in the second round. Again a disappointment for Kobe, who demanded change.
And next, 2007. year, the Lakers gathered an interesting team around Bryant. With Odom always in the mood to help, and with a couple of good role players, they started the season at a good pace. Kobe played well again, had several masterful games like against Portland where he scored 50 points, and concluded the season at the All-Star where he met h2h with LeBron, and became the MVP of the All-Star with 31p, 6as, 6stl and 5rebs . However, injuries to Bryant and some key players from the bench, made Jackson have the worst season as a coach – he finished at a ratio of 42-40 which was embarrassing for him at the time. The playoffs were won, but again the Suns were a big bite and the Lakers packed their bags in the first round and ended the season.
Then some things had to change in the Lakers. It was clear that Kobe could not reach the final without Shaq. Rumors started that he would ask for a trade because of the bad roster, and later he was promised that everything possible would be done to build a new team around him. Pau Gasol was brought in, and he joined Odom and young Bynum in a racket and was reputed to be a great reinforcement and replacement for Shaquille. And that turned out to be a very smart move. Without too much noise, quietly, calmly the Lakers traveled again to the stars and to the ring. However, the season did not start so fabulously. Kobe injured a finger on the shooter’s hand in one game, and after an agreement, he refused to go for surgery and continued to play and deal with the pain. He played every game, and scored 28 points per game. Although the numbers were far from his maximum, he turned into a veteran and leader on the floor. The choice for MVP was not very uncertain, Kobe was the only one who deserved that recognition and it was more or less clear. The Lakers finished the season with 57 wins, and rest assured that someone else was in Bryant’s place – the ratio of defeats to wins would probably be reversed. And in the playoffs, he knocked down the Nuggets, and their morale in the second game by scoring 49 points for them. He extinguished all their hopes in match number 4, where he scored 14 points in the last quarter and solved their torment. The next opponent was the experienced Jazz. LAL made a 2-0 advantage in Los Angeles, for Jazz to level it all off in their own hall. Pau and Lamar played the games of the season in victory in match number five, to solve all the dilemmas about passing on in the sixth clash. Then followed the hardest step, the Spurs who were the obvious favorite and superior team in that duel. And yes, the Spurs caused them problems, and all those 25 minutes they kept equal. Kobe knocked them down practically alone again, and with great games at the Staples Center, he concluded it all in the fifth game when he scored 17 points in the final quarter and turned off the light to the Spurs and sent them “home”.
The Celtics, however, were too much for the Lakers at the time. The excellent fusion of experience and youth in the form of Garnett, Allen and Pierce, did not allow the Lakers any surprises. They beat them in 6 games, with the most painful defeat being the last one, where the Celtics scored 131 points and received only 92. Kobe played best in GAME 3, where he scored 36 points but again too little for the horny Celtics. Another dream about the throne collapsed into irreversibility.
In China at the 2008 Olympics year, he was one of the biggest stars. And then he showed his lavish talent again, when Mike Krzyzewski gave him the opportunity to take the lead in the time-out 2 minutes before the end in the final against Spain, when the Spaniards came close to 2p, and this one returned him very well – hit the shot after an assist by Williams, then hit a short jumper and later assisted Wade for a “monster jam”. In China, he was then nicknamed the “Flying Little Warrior” – and the “Bryant” fever then spread to the world’s largest population.
It’s been 7 years since the last Lakers trophy, and Jackson & co were more ready than ever to return to the top of the strongest league in the world. They started the season completely ready, Kobe healed his finger injury, the bench was stronger than in previous years, and everyone from the top five was ready and healthy for new campaigns. Their only misfortune was Bynum’s injury and there in a collision with Bryant – where he pulled a thick end and ended the season due to a serious knee injury. Jackson again managed to neutralize that shortcoming, and the Lakers finished the regular season with 65 wins – third place in the number of wins ever in the league. Kobe was again the main gunman, with 28PPG and 4.9AS, leading a dead race for MVP with James during the season, but still the prize almost slipped away and went the way of Cleveland. However, his few games with a triple-double effect stand out the most, as well as that masterful performance against the Knicks in MSG where he set a hall record (later broken by Mel), and the all-around numbers he had hinted that the Lakers could to return the ring to Los Angeles.
And the first round brought them an old enemy – Utah Jazz. In five games, the Lakers tackled the job, Kobe was the top scorer in every win for his team, and then a tough test followed in the second round. The Rockets with Yao Ming, Brooks and dedicated Ron Artest (Metta) immediately made trouble for the Lakers in Texas by taking a 1-0 lead in the series. However, the initiator of the turnaround was Pau Gasol, who opened the racket excellently in attack, and shot from a distance and in the defense stopped Brooks’ penetrations by sticking them to the board. Yao Ming snatched victory in the sixth bout, but the Lakers at Staples Center were too much of a bite – an 89:70 win took them to the Nuggets. The Nuggets didn’t scare the Lakers at all – moreover, they had the win in their hands after the first match, but Kobe’s genius and 6 free throws in the last 30 seconds gave the Lakers a 1-0 advantage. That match ended with 40 points. And in the following matches, Kobe took the lead and Denver simply did not have the strength or the will to respond to them. The only hurdle between Kobe and his first “solo” title (because we’ll take into account that he won everything with Shaq) was shared only by Magic Orlando.
Orlando was defeated 75-100 at the Staples Center, where Kobe again scored 40 points, which was more than enough for the debacle of Howard & co. The Lakers also brought the second game to their advantage, true after OT, but with Bryant’s 29 points and 8 assists they couldn’t lose. The third match went to Orlando with a close 104-108 where Howard, but this Lewis played a good game and deserved his team’s victory. Kobe was again on the effect of 8 assists, with 31 points scored. The Lakers brought the fourth and fifth matches to their advantage, although it was very uncertain in the fourth when Derek Fisher broke the Lakers’ threes in the final seconds, to judge with his long-range shot in overtime and lead the Lakers to a 99-91 victory. And in the fifth game, the Lakers were more dominant, and deservedly won a new NBA title. It’s Kobe at 4. and in the 5th match he had 30 and 32 points with 5 and 8 assists, respectively.
The following season, 2009-2010, was prepared by Kobe as the “repeating season” of this before, where the Lakers were on the throne. Ron Artest was brought in, who stabilized the defense a lot, and although Mamba was out of action for 9 games, the Lakers reached the playoffs again. In the first round, Oklahoma, Kevin Durant, the league’s top scorer, fell in six matches and a special fire was in that sixth match, where Kobe scored 32 points and finished the p’n’r game with Gasol, who did not score but spent the time allotted for the OKC attack, and the Lakers went into the second round. Jazz was waiting for them there, which was not as dangerous as in previous years. Kobe and LAL finished with Jazz in four matches, and the conference finale has been one of the most exciting in recent years. The magician Nash believed in the Suns ’victory, but Kobe did not share that opinion. In the six matches they played, Kobe recorded all-around numbers with a remarkable percentage of realization, and that was impossible to guard and the Suns failed to withstand their rush. The defensive final was on the horizon – Celtics vs Lakers.
The Celtics were not a one-man team like the Lakers. Garnett, Pierce and Rondo were a killer tandem that broke all boundaries and won above all on their exceptional defense that every player knew how to play well. Game after game was played, and the score after four games was 2-2. Then came the Kobe-Pau tandem, which left invisible Pierce’s performance in the last two games, especially in the last where he took 18 rebounds and 18 combined points, and the combined points of Gasol and Bryant secured the Lakers their fifth title in 15 years. And since then, Kobe hasn’t seen this ring – an era of injuries has ensued, there are some new kids who have abruptly raised their egos and want to be Kobe or Jordan. Let’s take this season as an example, Kobe broke his personal statistics because in 9 games he played he was still in stand-by mode, and he didn’t go full throttle, but I have no doubt that even at the age of 36, he will finish the season as of a dream, only to be bypassed by injuries.
And so it was that Kobe returned in his 19th season with the Lakers, tying John Stockton with the most seasons played on a single team. On November 30, 2014 against Toronto Kobe scored 31 points in the 129: 122 victory over Toronto and made the 20th Triple Double in his career 31-12-11, at the age of 36 he became the oldest NBa player ever to score 30 points with 10 rebounds and 10 assists. 14.December.2014 Kobe Bryant became the third best scorer of all time in the NB in the match against Minnesota, overtaking Jordan (32,292). In 27 games, he averaged 26.4 points on 22.4 shots per game. During the season, Kobe began to be slightly injured, first starting with his knees so that Byron Scott would decide to reduce his playing time and rest him, he ended the season because he had to undergo surgery. will keep him off the field for 9 months and his return is awaited again 2015-2016
And for the end of this text, which I have been working on for a couple of days now, I will single out something I read on Black Mamba’s twitter, more precisely one question from his fan:
Kobe, what’s your favorite season in LA?
Kobe: Next Season.