By the year 2000, Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant was beginning to make the entire NBA aware of his status as the league’s next superstar. Still, his full, explosive, score-50-points-at-any-time potential hadn’t been entirely cemented yet, at least in part because he had yet to score 50 points in any game.
That changed on Dec. 6, 2000, when Bryant and the Lakers faced off with Antawn Jamison and the Golden State Warriors. “Bryant vs. Jamison” might not scream “classic scoring duel” to anyone, but the two future Lakers teammates put on a shootout for the ages in Oakland.
Both players scored 51 points in what was the first 50-point game of Bryant’s career. While it was his first time reaching that plateau, Bryant’s full repertoire was showcased on that day in Lakers history.
The long jumpers with a hand in his face. The drives to the basket. The athleticism and impeccable footwork. Bryant used them all to ring up 51 points as Jamison showed off his arsenal of flip shots and layups to rack up 51 of his own.
— NBA (@NBA) December 7, 2016
In addition to his scoring exploits, Bryant flirted with a triple-double in the game, grabbing seven rebounds and eight assists to go with his 50-piece. Meanwhile Jamison helped the Warriors come out on top by snaring 13 rebounds of his own.
Even aside from his stats though, Bryant did nearly everything he could to help the Lakers beat Golden State, logging 51 minutes in regulation and overtime before the team was upset by the Warriors.
While the Lakers didn’t come out on top, the rest of the league was still on notice about Bryant, who was not only showing that he was easily the league’s best second-fiddle while playing alongside Shaquille O’Neal, but also might just be the NBA’s second-best player overall.
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