Kobe Bryant became the fifth player in NBA history to break the 30,000-point mark, with a 29-point performance against the New Orleans Hornets on Wednesday night.
Ironically, it was the Hornets that drafted Bryant back in 1996 before trading him to the Los Angeles Lakers. Since then, Bryant has won five NBA championships, one NBA MVP Award and two NBA Finals MVP awards.
And, as evidenced by the video montage below, he’s hit a few clutch shots along the way.
But in order to make a mark like 30,000 career points, it takes more than a few game-ending buckets. What makes the number even more amazing is that Bryant’s 5,640 career playoff points don’t even count in the total.
With that in mind, sportsnet.ca looks back at some of Bryant’s best reguilar season performances over his 17-year career.
Most NBA teams would throw in the towel when trailing by a score of 88-61 after three quarters, (at least we know that any Gregg Popovich team likely would to rest his starters), but back in 2002 the Lakers — behind the efforts of Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal — certainly wouldn’t.
Bryant scored 21 of his 27 points in the fourth quarter including the game-winner with 8.4 seconds left to lift the Lakers past Dallas in a 105-103 victory.
The Mavericks were once again the victims when Bryant dropped 62 points on them back in 2005. While 62 points is an impressive feat, what made that night even more impressive was the fact that Bryant sat the entire fourth quarter.
In a 30-point third quarter, Bryant made 7-of-13 shots and 14-of-16 free throws to help his team to a 95-61 lead.
This is the game that no fan of the Toronto Raptors will ever forget.
Unlike the Mavericks game, he would play four quarters and his team would need him as the Lakers were trailing by as many as 18 points in the third quarter.
An angry Bryant took over with the Raptors leading 71-53, as he would score 53 points on his way to an 81-point night, recording the second-highest point total in NBA history behind Wilt Chamberlain’s 100-point game.
The final tally: Lakers, 122, Raptors 104, Kobe Bryant 81 points.
Bryant scored 65 points for the Lakers en route to a 116-111 overtime victory.
This game kicked off a run of four-consecutive games in which Bryant would score over 50 points as he became the second player to accomplish such a feat. The first was Chamberlain of course.
Bryant has always loved a big stage and there is none bigger in basketball than Madison Square Garden.
On this night Bryant would score 61 points to break the arena record for most points in a game held by a player he is often compared to, Michael Jordan.
In perhaps the most amazing twist, the knowledgable New York crowd would serenade him with alternating boos mixed with chants of “MVP!” as they paid tribute to the performance despite the Knicks losing 126-117.