As Kobe Bryants’s career begins to wind down, the comparisons to Michael Jordan will become more and more rampant. If there is any single moment in Kobe’s career that signaled his ability to become the next Jordan, it occurred during the 2000 NBA Finals.
Bryant hobbled into Game 4 of the Finals after missing most of Game 2 and all of Game 3 due to a sore ankle. The Lakers were, fortunately, able to split the two games without Bryant.
Bryant played well throughout the game but really stepped up after Shaquille O’Neal fouled out with 2:33 left in overtime. The Lakers, who had been in control for most of the game, were about to let a win slip out of their grasp and head home with the series tied 2-2.
With Shaq on the bench, Kobe would hit two clutch jump shots and then add another tip in to help the Lakers escape Indianapolis with a 3-1 series advantage. Much like Jordan, Bryant was able to step up when his team needed him the most and deliver a win.