This day in Los Angeles Lakers history saw Kobe Bryant score the first point of what would become an illustrious 20-year career. The moment occurred at the free throw line against the New York Knicks on Nov. 5, 1996.
That Bryant tallied the first point of his career at Madison Square Garden and on the charity stripe were both symbolic. The late Lakers icon openly raved about his affinity for the proverbial Mecca of Basketball and authored one of the best games of his career in New York.
In 1998, Madison Square Garden was the backdrop when Bryant became the youngest player to ever start in an NBA All-Star Game.
As for the free throw line connection, Bryant passed Michael Jordan on the NBA all-time scoring list while at the stripe, he memorably sank a pair after tearing his Achilles, and the final point of his career also came at the line.
1 of 33,643.
— Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) November 5, 2020
As for the November night of his rookie season, the game against the Knicks was just the second of Bryant’s career. Bryant’s NBA debut came two days prior when he logged six minutes and had just one rebound and a blocked shot in a win over the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Bryant played just three minutes against the Knicks and for a second consecutive game missing the lone shot he took. Bryant appeared in 71 games (six starts) during a rookie season that flamed out with multiple air balls against the Utah Jazz in the Western Conference Semifinals.
A painful experience at the time, it wound up serving as fuel for the eventual five-time champion.
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