On January 22, 2006, Kobe Bryant scorched the Toronto Raptors for 81 points in one of the most memorable games in NBA history.
Kobe Bryant had many memorable games throughout his illustrious 20 year career. However, it is tough to say that his 81 point performance isn’t at the top.
The Game Stats
The Los Angeles Lakers would be losing for a majority of the game until Bryant decided to go into mamba mode. Kobe willed the Lakers to a 122-104 win at Staples Center after being down by 18 in the third. 55 of Bryant’s 81 would come in the second half going for second all time for point scored in one half.
Who is first you ask? Well none other than the great Wilt Chamberlain who had 59 points for one half. That would be in the same game that Wilt scored an NBA record 100 points.
Bryant shot an incredible 28-of-46 from the field, not to mention that he was 7-13 behind the arc, and 18-of-20 from the foul line. The second highest scoring Laker during the game was Smush Parker, who dropped just 13 points.
In an interview with Graham Bensinger back in 2016, Kobe credits his grandmother for the inspiring him.
“The day I scored my 81 point game was the same day my grandfather passed away a few years before,” Bryant told Bensinger. “My grandmother who had never seen me play in the NBA. … She flew out to California to watch me for the first time and the only time. … It was really special for me. My grandmother had always been there for me. Out of everyone in the family me and her were the most similar.”
The Nike Zoom Kobe 1
Fresh off his first signature sneaker deal with Nike, Kobe exploded into the scene in his Nike Zoom Kobe 1s. On the 13th anniversary of Bryant’s 81 point game, Nike decided to release the shoe to the public in honor of Bryant accomplishment.
Complex explains the story behind Kobe’s first signature shoe.
Could He Have Passed 100?
In the mind of Kobe Bryant, yes he could’ve scored over a 100 points in this game. As he rewatched the game on NBA TV in 2013, Bryant decided to live tweet his thoughts.
Had a few more of his shots gone in, we would be here today at a new record well over a 100 points. But that still is no knock on Bryant’s accomplishment. Most recently Phoenix Suns guard, Deven Booker, scored an insane 70 points back in 2017. Will Wilt’s record ever be broken? Who knows but as of right now, the record looks like it still belong to Mr. Chamberlain.
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