Legacy of Kobe Bryant

Kobe's Los Angeles Debut

Bryant made his NBA debut with the Lakers on Nov. 3, 1996 in Los Angeles against the Minnesota Timberwolves. He did not score a point in six minutes and 22 seconds. Two nights later he scored his first career point against the Knicks at Madison Square Garden, a free throw. One night later he finally made his first basket against the Hornets.

"If you're afraid to fail, then you're probably going to fail." -Kobe Bryant

Slam Dunk Contest

The rookie Bryant won the 1997 slam dunk contest on Feb. 8 during NBA All-Star weekend in Cleveland. At 18 years old, he became the youngest winner of a slam dunk contest.

"Hero's come and go, but legends are forever." -Kobe Bryant

First All-Star Game

A year later, the 19-year-old Bryant made his first All-Star Game and became the youngest NBA All-Star ever. Bryant put on a show at Madison Square Garden, putting up 18 points while matching up against Michael Jordan.

"I can remember winning the championship and kinda being like, 'OK, now what, what happens now?'...celebrating, waving champagne bottles around, OK...and outside of that, it was 'OK, now what?"-Kobe Bryant

First NBA Championship

Having formed a dynamic duo with Shaquille O’Neal, Bryant won his first NBA championship on June 19, 2000 when the Lakers defeated the Indiana Pacers in Game 6. Bryant scored 26 points in the series-clinching game. This was the first of three consecutive NBA titles for Bryant and the Lakers.

First All-Star MVP

Bryant won the first of his four NBA All-Star Game MVP awards when he scored 31 points and had five assists in the Western Conference’s 135-120 win. Bryant also won the award in 2007, 2009 and 2011.

“It just happened. It really hasn’t set in. To sit here and say I grasp what happened tonight, I’d be lying. I was just determined. I was just locked in, tuned into what was going on out there. These points tonight mattered. We needed them. The points I put in the basket were instrumental. It means a lot more."-Kobe Bryant

81 Points

In one of the most jaw-dropping individual performances in sports history, Bryant dropped 81 points on Jan. 22, 2006 at home against the Raptors, the second-highest single-game total in NBA history. Bryant’s 81-point masterpiece trails only Wilt Chamberlain’s legendary 100-point game from 1962.

"The most important thing is to try and inspire people so that they can be great in whatever they want to do." -Kobe Bryant

Most Valuable Player

Bryant was named the 2007-08 NBA MVP on May 6, 2008, his lone MVP award. Bryant would go on to lead the Lakers back to the NBA Finals, his first time without Shaq, but the Lakers fell to the Boston Celtics in six games.

"Dedication makes dreams come true." -Kobe Bryant

Olympic Glory

Bryant helped lead a star-studded Team USA squad to the gold medal at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, defeating Spain to win it all. It marked a rebound for the US after missing out on the gold-medal game in 2004.

Black Mamba steals Madison Square Garden

Garden Party

Mamba took over The Mecca on Feb. 2, 2009, scoring 61 points to set a new record for most points scored by a player at Madison Square Garden. That record stood until Jan. 24, 2014 when Carmelo Anthony put up 62 points.

"May you always remember to enjoy the road, especially when it’s a hard one." -Kobe Bryant

Back on top

Seven years after their last title, Bryant led the Lakers back to glory, winning the 2008-09 NBA championship, beating the Magic in the Finals in five games. Bryant won the first of his two NBA Finals MVP awards, the second of which he’d capture the following season when the Lakers got revenge on the Celtics for Bryant’s fifth and final championship.

Another gold medal

Bryant and Team USA won gold once again at the 2012 Olympics in London, handing Spain more heartbreak in the gold-medal game.

"These young guys are playing checkers. I’m out there playing chess." -Kobe Bryant

Passing Jordan

Bryant eclipsed Jordan for third place on the NBA’s all-time scoring list on Dec. 14, 2014. Bryant, who finished his career with 33,643 points, is now in fourth place after being passed by LeBron James on Jan. 25, 2020, the night before Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna were killed in the helicopter crash.

"I see the beauty in getting up in the morning and being in pain because I know all the hard work that it took to get to this point. So, I’m not, I’m not sad about retiring. I’m very appreciative of what I’ve had." -Kobe Bryant

Grand Finale

Bryant scored 60 points in his final NBA game on April 13, 2016, a win over the Utah Jazz.

Dear Basketball

From the moment
I started rolling my dad’s tube socks
And shooting imaginary game-winning shots
In the Great Western Forum
I knew one thing was real:

I fell in love with you.

A love so deep I gave you my all
From my mind & body
To my spirit & soul.

As a six-year-old boy
Deeply in love with you
I never saw the end of the tunnel.
I only saw myself
Running out of one.

And so I ran.
I ran up and down every court
After every loose ball for you.
You asked for my hustle
I gave you my heart
Because it came with so much more.

I played through the sweat and hurt
Not because challenge called me
But because YOU called me.
I did everything for YOU
Because that’s what you do
When someone makes you feel as
Alive as you’ve made me feel.

You gave a six-year-old boy his Laker dream
And I’ll always love you for it.
But I can’t love you obsessively for much longer.
This season is all I have left to give.
My heart can take the pounding
My mind can handle the grind
But my body knows it’s time to say goodbye.

And that’s OK.
I’m ready to let you go.
I want you to know now
So we both can savor every moment we have left together.
The good and the bad.
We have given each other
All that we have.

And we both know, no matter what I do next
I’ll always be that kid
With the rolled up socks
Garbage can in the corner
:05 seconds on the clock
Ball in my hands.
5 … 4 … 3 … 2 … 1
Love you always,


Kobe Bean Bryant


Artist statement

Kobe Bryant, a much loved basketball player was the inspiration for my narrative site. Kobe passed away in a helicopter crash on January 26, 2020 with his beloved daughter Gianna. I had used an article previously written which gave me the key points that I wanted to portray to the audience. Each highlight contains a full video, image or gif, and a highlight of Kobe's career. Each video has the option for audio. There is 20 years of Laker's history to cover throughout my narrative site. Kobe will be dearly missed. Rest in peace Black Mamba.

Works Cited

Tasch, Justin. “Kobe Bryant's Top Highlights, from High School to His Final NBA Game.” New York Post, New York Post, 26 Jan. 2021, https://nypost.com/article/kobe-bryant-best-highlights/.