Bryant gained a reputation for his ice-cold demeanor. It’s very rare that he got emotional and lost control. Other NBA players thrive from living on the edge, but that’s not how Kobe was. The prime example of this was when he played against the Orlando Magic’s Matt Barnes and didn’t flinch.
The pair were sniping at each other all game with Barnes getting increasingly mad. Known for his volatile personality, Barnes was Kobe’s polar opposite. Officials intervened to calm them down. Barnes had one more trick up his sleeve. He picked the ball up and faked a pass into Kobe’s face. Bryant didn’t even blink.
Only one man has scored more points in a game than Bryant. That was the legendary Walt Chamberlain, who put 100 points on the board. But in the modern era, Bryant is definitely way out in front with this tremendous 81-point effort. It’s almost inconceivable how he did it.
It happened in 2006 against the Raptors. Bryant scored 26 points in the first half but the Lakers were still down by 14. Nobody could have expected the relentless outburst that was about to come. Kobe scored 27 points in the 3rd quarter and 28 in the 4th. In short, it’s one of the greatest performances of all-time and will be forever.
After suffering an Achilles injury, Bryant was never the same again. Especially as he was getting older. He recognized the deterioration of his body and made the decision to retire. But his last game saw him leave him with a bang. In the final match of 2016, he saved his one of his best for last.
Bryant scored a fantastic 60 points, his highest total of the season. It was a vintage performance that had the crowd on their feet because they knew greatness when they saw it. He stood in front of the sold-out Staples Center and thanked them from the bottom of his heart. ‘Mamba out,’ he said.