As we mourn and remember the great career of Kobe Bryant (Republished from 04/17/2016).
Coming up with Kobe Bryant’s Top 10 playoff moments wasn’t easy. Over the course of his 20-year career with the Los Angeles Lakers, Kobe has given his fans all over the world a seemingly endless stream of memorable moments. Bryant has thrilled Lakers fans from the moment he came into the league in 1996 leading all the way up to his final game in purple and gold two decades later.
Along with all the unforgettable memories he’s given fans throughout the years during the NBA regular season, Kobe also put on a show for the Lakers faithful in the playoffs while paving the way to five more titles for the storied franchise.
During Bryant’s tenure with the Lakers, the future Hall of Famer has only missed the playoffs four times. With 16 appearances in the postseason, Kobe has had his fair share of incredible moments in the playoffs while being the undisputed leader and face of the Lakers franchise.
From jaw-dropping dunks, game-winning shots and incredible performances to keep the Lakers’ championship hopes alive, Bryant has done it all in the playoffs with the following 10 moments being the cream of the crop.
#10: Kobe Leads Lakers To Finals With Win Over Denver (2009)
Kobe Bryant finishes with 35 points, 10 assists against Nuggets in series-clinching Game 6 of the 2009 Western Conference Finals
DESCRIPTION: The Los Angeles Lakers were able to dominate the competition during the 2008-09 NBA season winning 65 games, but ran into some trouble against the Denver Nuggets once able to reach the Western Conference Finals in the NBA playoffs.
Fortunately, Bryant and company turned in on with the superstar leading the team to a series-clinching win in Game 6 with 35 points and 10
#9: Kobe Torches Sacramento For 48 Points
Kobe Bryant scores 48 points and rips down 16 rebounds sweep the Sacramento Kings in Western Conference Semifinals Game 4
DESCRIPTION: The Los Angeles Lakers and Sacramento Kings had a bitter rivalry for the first few years of the dominant Kobe-Shaq era. These two Western Conference heavyweights met regularly in the playoffs with Bryant having arguably his best performance against the rival Kings in 2001.
Kobe torched Sacramento for 48 points while also ripping down 16 rebounds to help the Lakers pull off the four-game sweep.
#8: Kobe Bryant 40 Points vs. Magic (2009 NBA Finals)
Kobe Bryant drops 40 points against the Orlando Magic in the 2009 NBA Finals
After the Los Angeles Lakers fell to the Boston Celtics in the 2008 NBA Finals, Kobe Bryant was determined to lead his team back to the Finals the following year. Bryant accomplished that feat with relative ease and made a statement in Game 1 against Dwight Howard‘s Orlando Magic with a 40-point performance.
#7: Kobe Bryant Dunks On Steve Nash (2006)
Kobe Bryant dunks on Steve Nash in Game 2 of the first round of the NBA playoffs
DESCRIPTION: Back in 2006, the Los Angeles Lakers and Phoenix Suns rivalry was in full swing with Kobe Bryant and Steve Nash leading their respective teams. Although the Suns ultimately came out on top against the Lakers that year, Bryant left his mark with an incredible late-game performance in Game 4 and a posterizing dunk in Game 2.
#6: Kobe Bryant Game-Tying Three vs Pistons (2004 NBA Final)
Kobe Bryant hits game-tying three against the Detroit Pistons in the 2004 NBA Finals
The 2004 NBA Finals is something Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers would like to forget. The Detroit Pistons came out on top in this series, but not without some late-game heroics by Bryant in Game 2.
#5: Kobe Bryant Impossible Fade-Away Over Grant Hill (2010 WCF)
Kobe Bryant impossible shot over Grant Hill in the Western Conference Finals in 2010
Kobe Bryant had his fair share of battles with the Phoenix Suns during the playoffs with Steve Nash and company coming out on top more times than he’d like to admit.
Fortunately, Bryant got the last laugh in 2010 putting the icing on the cake with a patent fadeaway jumper over Grant Hill in the series-clinching Game 6 of the Western Conference Finals.
#4: Kobe Bryant’s Performance vs The Pacers (2000 NBA Finals)
Kobe Bryant’s performance against the Indiana Pacers in Game 4 of the 2000 NBA Finals
In Kobe Bryant’s first NBA Finals appearance, the Los Angeles Lakers faced a tough Indiana Pacers squad led by Reggie Miller.
In Game 4, Bryant made his presence felt by putting the team on his back to lead the Lakers to victory on the road. Shaquille O’Neal fouled out leaving it up to Kobe to shoulder the load and that he did finishing with 28 points while pulling out the win over the Pacers.
#3: Kobe Bryant Buzzer-Beater vs Suns (2006)
Kobe Bryant hits buzzer-beater against Phoenix Suns in 2006
DESCRIPTION: After battling through a few tough years of rebuilding, Kobe Bryant and company were able to make their presence known against Steve Nash’s Phoenix Suns in 2006. Bryant put on a show against the Suns in the first round of the playoffs that year with an unforgettable performance in Game 4.
#2: Kobe Leads Lakers Past Celtics (2010 NBA Finals)
Kobe Bryant leads the Lakers past the Boston Celtics in the 2010 NBA Finals
Of all five of Kobe Bryant’s NBA titles, the future Hall of Famer admits that beating the bitter rival Boston Celtics in 2010 was by far his favorite.
Bryant led the storied franchise to back-to-back titles alongside Pau Gasol with the second of the two titles coming against the Celtics in a thrilling seven-game series ending on the team’s home floor of the Staples Center.
#1: Kobe Alley-Oop to Shaquille O’Neal (2000 WCF)
Kobe Bryant alley-oop to Shaquille O’Neal in the 2000 Western Conference Finals
In perhaps the most iconic moment of the Kobe-Shaq era in Los Angeles, Bryant helped lead the Lakers to victory in an incredible comeback against the Portland Trail Blazers with an alley-oop to O’Neal in the closing moments of the 2000 Western Conference Finals.