What was my first thought after seeing Kobe Bryant wet that baseline fadeaway to beat the Raptors yesterday? He did it again. And that’s not to say I was expecting it. In fact, I don’t expect Bryant to make game-winners. Not anymore. I haven’t been confident in his ability to finish off games for almost two years now, or since he went off on that ridiculous run in 2010 when he was slitting the throats of a new team seemingly every week.
But during that time, Bryant actually beat Toronto with the same exact shot in nearly the same exact situation, except it was in L.A. instead of Canada. The point I’m making is 24 has a history that’s deep with moments like these. And thankfully for us, YouTube came around at just the right time.
Bryant’s game-winner in Toronto was necessary – the Lakers seriously need to start winning some road games. But it wasn’t as good as these shots.
Here are his five best game-winning shots throughout his career in the NBA:
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5. Kobe Comes Back From Court, Commits A Crime Against Denver
Y’all know the story. Kobe gets up at 4:30 in the morning, spends the whole day at court in Colorado. Then, he lands in L.A. just before tip off, gets to the locker room with eight minutes of time already gone off the clock, scores only 13 and then ends up hitting the game-winner at the buzzer against the Nuggets (who are from Colorado by the way).
4. Kobe Tells Jason Kidd To Never Dye His Hair Again
It wasn’t all that long ago that Bryant was 21 and Jason Kidd was more than just a beanstalk on defense. Kidd actually used to be one of the best defenders his position has ever seen, and yet Bryant beat him with a double-pumping pull-up in Game 2 of the Western Semifinals during the Lakers’ first championship run. How giddy can KB make people? Fast forward to the 28-second mark and watch some guy give new meaning to public embarrassment.
3. Kobe Gets The Worst End-Game Shot Possible, And Then Makes It
The execution on this play was terrible. Everything about it just reeked of something the ’98 Nuggets would’ve ran. 3.2 seconds left and you end up with a one-legged heave and your momentum going the wrong way? I still don’t know how Dwyane Wade didn’t block this.
2. Kobe Tells The MVP To Kiss His Rings
Probably the craziest game-winner in Staples Center outside of Robert Horry‘s beheading of Sacramento in 2002 when you had ball boys running across the floor like we were in the middle of the conference schedule in the Big East. When the topic of “Kobe Bryant = clutch” comes up, even before someone starts raining stats that’ll tell you he’s not that pure late in games, you’ll probably have visions of this play.
1. Kobe Shuts Up The Loudest Arena In The NBA
The shot to beat the Suns in the first round of the playoffs was probably more memorable. But this one was so incredible because the degree of difficulty was like trying to survive through an entire Call of Duty game on the hardest difficulty without bleeding out once. For a shot to be so shocking that the opposing announcers can’t even say a word for nearly a minute afterwards is almost unheard of.
What’s his most memorable game-winner ever?
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