Los Angeles Lakers legend, Kobe Bryant produced as many memorable shots as any player in NBA history. From mid-range displays, clutch daggers, circus finishes to insane throw-downs, he did it all.
So, in honor of his Birthday let's look at some of the best shots of his career.
This shot signified Kobe Bryant's coming out party as a championship player. In Game 4 of the 2000 NBA Finals against Indiana Pacers, the Lakers were up by 2-1 and while nursing a sprained ankle, Kobe scored 28 points. And then after sinking a few jumpers, he pulled off a reverse tip-in to seal the win with 5.9 seconds left. It was at this time he gave his classic "Calm Down" signal.
With the Lakers having lost Game 1 at home and facing a 89-86 deficit against the Detroit Pistons with 10.9 seconds in regulation, Bryant splashed his jumper over Richard Hamilton and LA would take the Dub in overtime.
Lakers were down by 2 with 3 seconds left, Kobe somehow managed a double-team to retrieve the inbounds pass with his back to the basket, so he took a circuitous route around Dwyane Wade, who was frantically chasing him and found the perfect space and angle for a one-legged fadeaway.
Kobe slices into the lane while in perfect control as he elevates, he shows Dwight Howard the ball with his right, brings it up-and-under him, goes back into a short jumper right before landing on the floor. This circus shot is one of the most underrated shots of his career.
After the game he dropped 81 points in, this 65-point performance comes second best. In this he went 8-of-12 from downtown, scoring 33 points on 11 of 13 shooting in the final 14 minutes of the game. But this corner dagger in the final 46 seconds takes the cake.
This was Kobe's last game of his career. The Lakers were down 96-88 with less than 2 minutes left but a noticeable exhausted Bryant refused to give up. So, after scoring 7 straight points, he drained a pull-up on the right elbow with 37.1 seconds left giving them the lead and winning the game.
Credit: YouTube/House of Highlights
In order to win in the Pacific division, the Lakers had to defeat their rivals, the Blazers. With 8 seconds left in OT and down by 3, Kobe put the moves on the "Kobe stopper" Ruben Patterson and was forced to make an awkward contested 3-ball. Then with 1 second remaining, Bryant caught the inbound pass from Gary Payton, he splashed a fadeaway, getting the victory.
This series did not end well for the Lakers but this is one of his most iconic shots. Bryant figured out a way to get a hold of the ball after the jump ball, dribbled back to his usual spot, and then sank a picture-perfect jumper.