Ask any Los Angeles Lakers fan, and they can tell you their favorite Kobe Bryant memory. That game where it seemed he couldn’t miss, couldn’t be shaken or intimidated. Ask any other NBA fan, and chances are they have a Bryant memory, too.
One filled with fear and heartbreak in the place of admiration.
Bryant’s name, face and legacy are synonymous with Lakers franchise history, along with a devout following of Kobe diehard fans. Bryant made it his mission, at just 13 years old, to become one of the greatest basketball players ever.
The journey getting there not only cemented his legacy as one of the best NBA players, but also inspired a generation of basketball fans through his work ethic and devotion to the city of Los Angeles.
Bryant took the NBA by storm as a valuable player, bringing with him an intensity about the game that was immediately compared to Michael Jordan’s. The 18-year-old, straight out of high school, began his NBA career by breaking multiple records, and he wasn’t going to stop until he had a legitimate claim on the best in the league.
To do so, Bryant knew he wasn’t going to be making friends along the way. His idols became his rivals almost over night, as stars in the league had to begrudgingly accept that Bryant was the real deal. Even his back-and-forth feud with Shaquille O’Neal had an impact on his career.
But his passion for the game translated into the fierce competitive nature fans came to love him for. He made it crystal clear, his only goal was to destroy whatever stood between him and the title of the best.
An obsessive mentality about the game of basketball made Bryant the player he was: someone whose accomplishments and accolades resulted in numerous broken records and a cult-like following of fans.
Kobe Bryant Records Held
A glance at Bryant’s all-time stats give you a small picture of who he was as a player. Nevertheless, it’s the number many fans and analysts use to judge players and rank them in their all-time lists. It’s as good a place as any to start looking at the former Lakers guard.
Throughout his 20-year career, Bryant averaged 25 points per game, 5.2 rebounds and 4.7 assists. He shot 44.7% from the field and 32.9% behind the arc. While he wasn’t the most efficient shooter, Kobe led the league in scoring four times in his career, three times in field goals, and twice in points per game, free throws and field goal attempts.
And on January 22, 2006, the Lakers beat the Raptors 122-104 and Kobe put up 81 points.
He also led in field goals both attempted and missed six times during his career.
This is partially due to Bryant’s refusal to give into injuries and sickness. If a game was on the line, or he felt like he needed to prove something to himself, it was normal to see Bryant play through fevers, broken fingers and strained muscles.
His undying love for the game resulted in Kobe having the most points (33,643), free throws (8,378) and turnovers (4,010) for a player in his position. No other guard has been able to rack up the same numbers.
Bryant wasn’t after the all-time titles. His mission to become the best version of himself simply resulted in his many accolades, but he didn’t let milestones and records distract him from what mattered: if he wanted to be the best player in the world, he needed to make his team the best too.
Kobe Bryant Accolades
One of Bryant’s best traits was his laser focus and determination. No matter what the rest of the Lakers roster looked like, his mind was on winning the ultimate game. This mindset took Bryant to the NBA Finals seven times, resulting in five NBA championships for the Purple and Gold in 2000, 2001, 2002, 2009 and 2010.
He was crowned NBA Finals MVP in his last two championship runs, and earned regular season MVP in 2008.
While garnering the respect of everyone in the league and bringing home championships for the Purple and Gold, Bryant couldn’t help but pick up some extra accolades along the way, including:
- Most points scored in one arena, Staples Center: 16,161
- Most games played at one arena, Staples Center: 599
- Most points scored in three quarters: 62
- Most free throws made, four-game playoff series: 51 in the 2001, second round of playoffs against the Sacramento Kings
- Most points scored in a modern era NBA game: 81
- Most points scored as an opponent in the current Madison Square Garden: 61
- Highest score against rest of teams in the league above 40, tied with Bob Pettit.
Kobe Bryant’s Records Broken
Bryant’s introduction into the NBA held a weight of its own. This scrawny, 6-foot-6 kid hailing from Italy and Philadelphia raised, convinced the world that he was ready for the pressures of professional basketball as a teenager. Eighteen years and 158 days old, to be exact.
That pure self confidence brings us to Bryant’s first round of records broken, and still held to this day. His early introduction into the NBA made him the youngest player to start a game, but that wasn’t enough for Bryant. He went on to smash another 10 records for being the youngest to accomplish incredible feats. He was the youngest player to:
- Be named to the NBA All-Rookie team
- Be named to the NBA All-Defensive First Team
- Win the NBA Slam Dunk Championship
- Start an All-Star game
- Score in an All-Star game
- Score in a Playoff game
- Score a 3-pointer in a Playoff game
- Win 3 championships
- Appear in 1,000 NBA games
- Reach 33,000 points
Bryant refused to slow down as his career progressed. Every win and loss only fueled him further, and he continued to break records as he fought for championships and his own satisfaction. The catch for Bryant was that he was never satisfied.
He famously pushed his teammates and demanded the same level of dedication he had for the game. He didn’t have time to bond with his peers, and used his knowledge wisely as he got older. What ostracized him from the rest of his teammates set him apart in the eyes of fans.
Kobe All-Star Game Records
Bryant quickly became an All-Star regular, appearing in his first All-Star game at just 19 years old. His defensive abilities also earned him a consistent spot on the All-Defensive teams. While some players used the All-Star break to relax and bond with players from other teams, Bryant used this time to pick up on his opponent’s weaknesses and assert dominance over the best players at that time.
His next round of records broken are a result of 18 consecutive All-Star Game selections (another record of his). Kobe has records for most:
- All-Star Game MVP awards won: tied with Bob Pettit
- Offensive rebounds in an All-Star game: 10
- All-NBA Team honors won by a guard: 15
- All-NBA First Team honors won by a guard: 11
- All-Defensive First Team honors won: 9. Tied with Michael Jordan, Gary Peyton, Kevin Garnett
- Consecutive All-Star Game selections: 18
As Bryant got older, he learned how to retrain his body and change his game accordingly. His legacy only became stronger as he aged, and he famously coined his own nickname, Vino since he was aging as well as a fine wine.
He willed himself to break a few more records in the last few years of his career. He became the oldest player to:
- Score 60+ points, one game: 37 years, 234 days
- Record back-to-back games of 40+ points and 10+ assists: 34 years, 197 days
- Put up a 30-point triple-double: 36 years, 99 days
- Score 30 or more points in 10+ consecutive games: 34 years
Kobe Bryant’s Accomplishments
Unsurprisingly, there are a handful of achievements from Kobe that don’t hold an official record, partially since he remains the only player to do some of these things. Those include:
- Second most All-NBA Team honors won: 15
- Second most All-NBA First Team Honors won: 11
- Second most All-Defensive Team honors won: 12
- Second youngest player to be named to the NBA All-Defensive Team
- Only player in NBA history to score at least 600 points in the postseason for three consecutive years
- Only player in NBA history to retire two jersey numbers in a single franchise team (8 and 24)
- Only player to record a triple-double with at least 30 points at age 36 or older
- Only player to lead an All-Star game in votes during his final career season
Years after the tragic helicopter crash and death of Kobe, Gianna and seven other passengers, it’s hard to separate the legend from reality. Following a historic (once again, record-breaking) retirement season, fans were just beginning to find out who Kobe was off the court.
He took his love for the game into every facet of his life and passions, accomplishing feats that no one expected. Bryant won an Oscar for his animated short film, “Dear Basketball,” and later went on to create his own fictional young adult series, “The Wizenard Series: Training Camp.”
Bryant took his influence seriously, and used his star power to push for women and girls in sports. He created the Mamba and Mambacita Sports Foundation to help encourage youth and underserved athletes.
Bryant also shared his knowledge with promising young stars in the NBA with his creation of the Mamba Sports Academy, where he invited a select number of players to work on various skills during the offseason.
There’s no telling where Bryant’s passion would have taken him next, but the legacy of Kobe Bean Bryant will never be lost on fans of the game.