Kobe Bryant accomplished a plethora of feats during his time with the Los Angeles Lakers. An illustrious career that spanned two decades, he not only captured five championships but is responsible for some of the best individual performances in NBA history.
Bryant is perhaps most famous for his 81-point showing against the Toronto Raptors on Jan. 22, 2006. Still to this day, it’s the second-most points ever scored in an NBA game.
Another memorable performance for Bryant came in the final game of his illustrious career against the Utah Jazz. He turned back the clock and scored 60 points — including 23 in the fourth quarter — to lead the Lakers from a late-game deficit to an unprecedented win.
During an appearance on The Dan Patrick Show, Bryant revealed that he would pick his 81-point game over his 60-point performance because the former ultimately helped the Lakers advance to the playoffs:
“Oh man. I’ll probably go with the 81 because we were like, one game out of making the playoffs that year. So we literally needed every single game to get into the postseason. If we had dropped that one, I think we would’ve been in serious jeopardy of missing the playoffs that year. So I’ll go with 81.”
Given his competitive nature, it’s hardly surprising that Bryant opted for the night he dropped 81 points on the Raptors.
Not only was it a historic individual achievement, but the Lakers needed every win that season to sneak into the playoffs. That was most important to Bryant, as he relished every opportunity to win a championship over accolades.
That’s in contrast to the final game of Bryant’s career, where the Lakers were in the early stages of their rebuild and already long eliminated from postseason contention.
Bryant surely would’ve preferred competing for a sixth championship to close out his soon-to-be Hall-of-Fame career, but capping it off with one, final 60-point performance wasn’t a bad consolation prize to say the least.
The Dan Patrick Show airs on AUDIENCE Network – Channel 239 (DirecTV) – Monday-Friday 6 a.m.- 9 a.m. PT.