When you score a massive number of points against a well-known legend, you do get the bragging rights. However, when the said legend gets back at you, you know you’re going to be put in your place. There was a similar situation between Kobe Bryant and Gilbert Arenas back in 2006.
One of the most memorable things in an NBA player’s life has to be when he scores more than a legend of the sport. More importantly, when the legend is Kobe Bryant, you know it was your lucky night.
On 17 December 2006, the Washington Wizards were up against the Los Angeles Lakers. It was then when Wizards star Gilbert Arenas and Lakers legend Kobe Bryant faced each other.
While the former amassed a whopping 60 points, eight rebounds and as many assists, the latter followed with 45 points, eight rebounds and 10 assists. What’s important to note here is that Kobe scored 40 points in three of the quarters.
The night was full of achievements for Gilbert. Even though Kobe fans weren’t fond of him, he received a lot of praise. With the Wizards winning 147-141, the 60 points that Arenas scored were not only a career-high but a franchise-high too. He beat Earl Monroe’s record of 56 points in a match.
It also became the first time any player dropped 60 points against the Lakers since Wilt Chamberlain did in 1966.
Arenas’ 16 points in over-time is also an NBA record. When he addressed his accomplishments post-game, he didn’t sound shocked or surprised at all. He felt it was just his day.
“It was bound to happen,” he said. “I’m a scorer, so I was going to have one of those days where I was clicking. Most of the time when I’ve scored 46 in three quarters, we were blowing the other team out, so I didn’t get to play in the fourth.
“But tonight was that time. It was a close game, and I stayed in. I found the rhythm, especially in the fourth quarter and in overtime, and I never looked back.”
Kobe himself seemed impressed by Arenas’ feat. He said, “Some of the shots he took tonight, if you miss those, they’re just terrible shots, just awful. You make them and they’re unbelievable shots.”
Later on, the Lakers star expressed his thoughts about giving the purple and gold jersey to Arenas. “Sure,” Bryant said, “It certainly wouldn’t hurt, that’s for sure.”
Even though Arenas never played for the Lakers, over the years he made it a point to display his admiration for Bryant in many ways.