On Nov. 12, 2004, the Lakers were in Orlando to face the Magic. They were trailing 82-74 late in the third quarter when Bryant came off a Lamar Odom screen and split two defenders on his way to the paint.
Howard came over from the weakside and was seemingly caught between attempting to take a charge or contest the dunk. Bryant elevated and threw down a monstrous one-handed slam dunk on the rookie.
Bryant finished with a season-high 41 points on 14-for-31 shooting, and he also made 11-of-12 at the free throw line. However, the Lakers, who led by as many as 18 points, were unable to hold off a Magic comeback.
After squandering their lead, L.A. jumped back out ahead in the third quarter but Orland responded with a 13-0 run to reclaim the lead.
Although it came at his expense, Howard would later call the poster-worthy dunk one of the best in Bryant’s career. That of course was only the beginning of a complex history between the two players.
Bryant’s Lakers defeated Howard and the Magic in five games in the 2009 NBA Finals, and their lone season as teammates was marred by subpar play and reports of locker room discord.