When Kobe Bryant Braved a Bloodied Face and Stitches to Lead the Lakers to an Emphatic Win in 2008

Published 08/14/2021, 12:30 PM EDT
Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant #24 before taking the court for the third quarter of play in the Lakers 1105-103 win over the Denver Nuggets in Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals best of seven series Tuesday May, 19, 2009 at the Staples Center. Tim Rasmussen, The Denver Post (Photo By Tim Rasmussen/The Denver Post via Getty Images)


Kobe Bryant is said to be one of the most inspiring athletes in the history of sports. His legacy is one filled with hard work, determination, and utmost brilliance. Looking back at the days of his prime years in the NBA league, Kobe had created a bunch of breathtaking moments for the world to witness.

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Back in 2008, one incident stands out in Kobe’s phenomenal career. A regular-season match between Los Angeles Lakers and Golden State Warriors was locked in on 25th March. In an intense matchup, Warriors’ Baron Davis drove into the paint and Kobe Bryant’s face was hit hard on the defensive end.

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Kobe Bryant completed the victory despite an injury

The Lakers star had a bleeding patch under his left eye. Most of the fans would know Kobe’s next move. He continued to play through the injury and pain, scored clutch free-throws for his team, and got five stitches by the end of the game.

Many such instances have revealed Kobe in a similar light to the 90s Michael Jordan who played through his flu game. It is a common setup for these legends to win at all costs. And that’s what Bryant was up against the Warriors. The Lakers defeated Golden State by a 123-119 margin to reclaim the top seed in the Western Conference.

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2007-08 NBA season was special for the Black Mamba

Kobe dropped 30 points that night, 23 of which were scored in the second half. He had 11 rebounds and 7 assists in the match with a 7-of-7 score from the free-throw line. Known for his winning instincts, Kobe delivered when it mattered the most despite a broken face.

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That year the Lakers superstar averaged 28.3 points, 6.3 rebounds, and 5.4 assists per game to eventually earn the season MVP award. So, 2008 stands as one of the most phenomenal seasons for Bryant on an individual level. However, it wasn’t the year of a championship for him. Lakers lost to the Boston Celtics in the 2008 NBA Finals and went on to win a ring the next year.

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Pavni Ahuja

499 articles

Pavni Ahuja is an NBA writer at EssentiallySports. Housing a keen interest in sports journalism, she is pursuing an undergraduate Journalism degree from Christ University. Pavni is an ardent fan of the NBA, with prior district-level playing experience in basketball.

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