With the Los Angeles Lakers set to immortalize Kobe Bryant by retiring his Nos. 8 and 24 jerseys at Staples Center during halftime of Monday’s game against the Golden State Warriors, Spectrum SportsNet is using the weekend to turn back the clock.
Beginning Saturday, Dec. 16, the exclusive home of the Lakers will air five iconic games from Bryant’s career, plus an encore of his appearance on SportsNet’s “Connected With…” series, which premiered last week.
In the episode, Bryant touched on an array of topics, including the mentality the Lakers’ young core should have, if he plans to attend more games in the future, and making the Oscar shortlist for his ‘Dear Basketball’ animated film.
The five select games are comprised of three games during Bryant’s time wearing No. 8, and two as No. 24. Of course, the final replay is fittingly of Bryant’s last game in which he scored 60 points against the Utah Jazz.
Saturday, Dec. 16 — The best of #8
3:00 p.m. PT, 2000 NBA Finals, Game 4: Lakers at Indiana Pacers (Kobe takes over in OT)
Having already endured a sprained ankle earlier in the series, Bryant and the Lakers appeared to be in a difficult situation when Shaquille O’Neal fouled out in overtime. But Bryant took control of the game, making a pair of jumpers and finishing off the Pacers with a reverse-layup putback.
The win gave the Lakers a commanding 3-1 series lead, and they proceeded to close out the Finals in six games.
5:00 p.m. PT, 2006 First Round, Game 4: Phoenix Suns at Lakers (Kobe game winner in OT)
After missing the 2005 playoffs, Bryant and the Lakers were back as the No. 8 seed against a vaunted Suns team. The Lakers held a 2-1 in the series, but the Suns were seconds away from pulling even.
A forced turnover led to a fast break opportunity that Bryant converted by floating in a tough shot from the baseline. Then off a jump ball in overtime, Bryant drilled his patented shot from the elbow at the buzzer.
7:30 p.m. PT, Toronto Raptors at Lakers (Kobe’s 81 Point Game)
If there was ever any doubting Bryant’s scoring prowess, this night in January firmly laid that to rest. With the Lakers struggling against a middling Raptors team, Bryant led the charge to erase an 18-point second half deficit.
He scored 55 points over the third and fourth quarters, utilizing his entire repertoire to score 81 points that are ranked second in NBA history.
Sunday, Dec. 17 — The Best of #24
3:00 p.m. PT, 2009 NBA Finals, Game 5: Lakers at Orlando Magic (Kobe wins first title without Shaquille O’Neal)
After an acrimonious split with O’Neal, Bryant remained driven as ever to reach the top of the mountain. The Lakers returned to the NBA Finals in 2008, only come up short against the Boston Celtics.
That further fueled Bryant’s fire, and the following year he claimed a fourth championship. Bryant scored 40 points, pulled down eight rebounds and dished out eight assists to close out the Magic on the road.
8:00 p.m. PT, Utah Jazz at Lakers from (Kobe’s Final Game)
While Bryant had shown flashes of his old self throughout the 2015-16 season that became a farewell tour, the five-time champion certainly saved the best for latest. In front of a capacity crowd, Bryant overcame fatigue and dazzled to the tune of 60 points.
His Hollywood ending featured a go-ahead jump shot with 31 seconds left, sending Staples Center and Laker teammates into a frenzy. And with that, Bryant became the only player in NBA history to spend 20 seasons with the same team.
9:30 p.m. PT, “Connected With…” encore
Spectrum SportsNet’s Chris Mc Gee sat down with Bryant to discuss life after basketball, the Lakers retirement of his jersey numbers, and a potential statue outside Staples Center.
SportsNet will have complete coverage of Bryant’s retirement ceremony, including a special, 90-minute edition of “Access SportsNet: Lakers” prior to tipoff.
WANT TO PARTICIPATE IN THE DISCUSSION? CHECK OUT THE NEW LAKERS NATION FORUM CLUB