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Kobe Bryant: 20 Years of NBA Greatness in a Nutshell

kobe bryant 20 years nba greatness

The 37-year old Lakers shooting guard began his career in 1996 with the Lakers and has become the face of the franchise and of the city of Los Angeles. Nicknamed the “Black Mamba”, he was one of the most skillfully dangerous players in NBA History.

Photo via NBA
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Kobe Bryant, one of the NBA’s most successful players ever, ended his illustrious NBA career in 2016 with a 60-point game at the team’s season-ending match against the Utah Jazz on April 13, 2016.

kobe bryant greatness

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The 37-year old Lakers shooting guard began his career in 1996 with the Lakers and has become the face of the franchise and of the city of Los Angeles. Nicknamed the “Black Mamba”, he was one of the most skillfully dangerous players in NBA History. Bryant has undeniably been a phenomenal scorer and a great defender.

As a fitting tribute, we have compiled his most impressive statistics in his 20-year NBA career. Here is getting to know Kobe Bryant by the numbers. 

#1. Just 1 NBA Most Valuable Player Award (2007-08)

Kobe Bryant 20 Years

Credits to: NBA.com

Kobe won just one NBA Most Valuable Player award, one less than Steve Nash and tied with Derrick Rose. Sports analysts explains this by saying that Bryant has been so good for so long that fans and media members who vote for the award tend to overlook his accomplishments.    

#2. 2 Finals MVP trophies; 2 Olympic gold won for the US Dream Team; 2nd Highest scoring NBA game record held

kobe bryant

Photo by CBS Sports (//sports.cbsimg.net/u/photos/basketball/nba/img25394738.jpg)

Kobe is a two-time NBA scoring champion, finishing as the league’s scoring leader in back-to-back seasons. He averaged a career-best 35.4 points in 2005-06 and followed that up with a 31.6 average in 2006-07.

In 2006, Bryant scored a career-high 81 points against the Toronto Raptors. It was the second-highest number of points scored in a game in NBA history, behind only Chamberlain’s 100-point performance in 1962. Kobe exhibited in that game his efficiency which we would see in his many other games. He was 60.9 percent from the field, 53.8 percent from three and 90 percent from the line.

#3. 3rd all-time highest scorer in the history of the NBA; 3rd youngest person to ever play in an NBA game; 3rd on NBA’s all-time playoff scoring list

Kobe Bryant is one of NBA’s most prolific scoring guards, being the 3rd all-time scorer in its history, after having passed Michael Jordan, the player he’ll forever be compared to, during the first half of the Lakers’ game versus the Minnesota Timberwolves in November 30, 2014. Since the 2005-2006 season, there have only been nine times when a player has scored 60 or more points in single game. Bryant has accounted for six of those. He finished his career with 33,643 points, behind Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s 38,387, Karl Malone’s 36,928 and just ahead of Michael Jordan’s 32,292.

Kobe Bryant 20 Years Lakers versus Bulls

Photo by CBS Sports (//sports.cbsimg.net/images/visual/whatshot/KobeJordan980Cover.jpg)

Kobe is the third youngest person to ever play in an NBA game having played his first game at 18 years and 72 days. Younger than him were Andrew Bynum who played his first game at 18 years and six days also for the Los Angeles Lakers followed by Jermaine O’Neil at 18 yrs and 53 days who was drafted then by the Portland Trailblazers.

His 5,640 career playoff points, is 3rd on NBA’s all-time playoff scoring list, behind Michael Jordan and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and ahead of former teammate Shaquille O’Neal.

#4.4 consecutive 50+ point games in 2007; 4 All-Star MVPS

4 All-Star MVPS, tied with Bob Petitt for most all-time. Kobe won All-Star MVP honors in 2002, 2007, 2009 and 2011; he shared the 2009 honor with former teammate Shaquille O’Neal, who was a member of the Phoenix Suns at the time. Petitt also shared one of his All-Star MVPs as he and Elgin Baylor were co-MVPs in 1959.

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