Putting the career of Kobe Bryant into his top ten moments is something that originally I thought would be terribly difficult.
Since he has provided his team and his millions of fans with countless moments that will live in NBA history forever, the list to choose from is quite long.
However, after a few moments thinking about what this man has both encountered and accomplished, his greatest experiences and accomplishments manage to stand out just a bit more than the rest.
Now I know that people who read this will either disagree or feel that a certain event or game is left out, but as I have already mentioned, there are a countless number of events to choose from and these are the moments that I believe have had the greatest impact on his career and all of his fans.
So without any further discussion allow me to present the top ten moments of the one and only Kobe Bryant.
10. The Draft
While it may seem obvious, it goes without saying that being drafted at No. 13 in the 1996 NBA Draft right out of high school is one of his greatest moments.
To get drafted at all is considered a great reward by most, but to do this right out of high school has proven to be an honor shared by only a few. He was drafted by the Charlotte Hornets despite making it very clear that he had no desire to play for that team.
This was the event, and the day, that the legend of Kobe Bryant first began to take form and there is no doubt that bringing Kobe into the NBA when they did started a new chapter in professional basketball.
9. The Trade
The next on the list is actually the next event that unfolded after Kobe’s being drafted by the Charlotte Hornets. As stated before, Bryant had made it clear to his agent and the media that he wanted to play for the Lakers and the Lakers only.
The Hornets drafted Bryant in hopes that they could make a trade with the Lakers. On July 1, 1996 Kobe’s wish was granted when the Lakers and the Hornets agreed to trade Bryant’s draft rights for their then starting center Vlade Divac.
It was on this day that Kobe Bryant would begin his promising career that has led him to where he is today as one of the greatest Lakers of all-time.
8. The Game
No. 8 is the only event that I have chosen from a game. While dropping 81 points in a single game against the Raptors in the 2006 season is something that most people would have placed as a No. 1 accomplishment, there are just too many other moments to consider when dealing with Kobe Bryant.
But let us not take anything away, scoring 81 points against a professional basketball team is nothing to shake a stick at.
7. Clash of the Titans
No. 7 is an event that unfolded off the court, but came as a result of events that took place on the court.
After numerous seasons with arguably one of the best centers in basketball, Shaquille O’Neal, Bryant and O’Neal’s relationship had declined to a state of utter hatred.
Once contracts ended and opportunities arose to release one of these players the Lakers franchise was put in a situation where they had to choose one or the other. Guess who they chose!
Despite the success both men brought to this storied franchise, it was Kobe Bryant who dawned the Yellow and Purple when the dust finally settled on one of the biggest player fueds in basketball history.
There is no doubt that this is one of the greatest moments in Kobe’s career; not because he out-lasted Shaq, his bitter rival, but because he had also evolved into such an asset to this team that the owners chose him over a player of O’Neal’s caliber.
6. Turning the Corner
Throughout Bryant’s career he has been insulted and accused of many things. The accusation that seemed to be held against him the most was that he was too much a ball hog.
Well, as a fan of Kobe and someone who has closely followed his career, I can say that the last several seasons Kobe has become the epitome of a team player which has earned him both praise, awards, and team success.
Efforts like this tend to go unnoticed since they do not always show up on a stat sheet but Bryant has shown a great deal of growth since O’Neal has left which has directly contributed to the Lakers continued success and recent post-season appearances.
5. Coming of Age
In only his second season in the NBA, Kobe Bryant through fans voting had become the youngest starting player on the NBA All-Star Team. He was 21 years old when he was given this honor.
He also earned in the same year the Sixth Man Player of the Year recognition for his off the bench performance. It is truly impressive that someone playing off the bench at the start of the season could accomplish these honors in only their second year in professional basketball.
4. Becoming the Centerfold
Coming it at No. 4 is more of a trend than an event. His becoming the leader and the face of the Lakers is what I put as his fourth greatest career highlight.
In the aftermath of O’Neal leaving the team and the failure in the Finals of the Hall of Fame team in the 03-04 season, an immense amount of pressure was put on Bryant to take a team that was full of young players and turn them into a winning franchise.
It is moments like this where you truly see what a player is capable of. Many players put in this position simply fail. They must wait until more talent or experience comes along to help them go places.
However, love or hate Kobe Bryant, it would be foolish to deny that he took his team, even in its weakest days, and brought about results that far exceeded almost everyones expectations.
As everyone expected, becoming the NBA MVP is definitely towards the top of my list. However, it comes in as No. 3 only because this is an accomplishment for a player, while basketball is a team sport.
Although basketball is the only sport that allows a star athlete to shine to such a great extent, it is important to remember that you live and die by your team.
Therefore, his outstanding individual accomplishments of the 07-08 season that awarded him Most Valuable Player of the NBA can not be over looked as one of his greater moments it still lands in third.
Obviously it would not be much of a top ten list if his three championships with the Lakers were not included so here they are at number two.
The three-peat championships of 2000-2002 are undoubtedly the second best highlight of his sports career. Having his hard work and efforts rewarded with three NBA Championships is without doubt one of the greatest moments for Kobe Bryant, as well as, any of his fans.
The greatest moment or accomplishment for Kobe Bryant in my opinion would have to be hands down winning the Olympic Games in Beijing at the 2008 games. After disappointing performances in the previous games by the USA, the “Redeem Team” brought the Gold Medal back to the United States and would be the only Olympic Medal Kobe Bryant has received.
Sure winning the NBA finals is the main goal, but you get a shot at that year after year. Bringing the gold medal back to the USA and finishing first in a ceremony that only comes around every four years comes with such a greater level of drama and a far greater scale of competition.
In my opinion, the scale could not be greater and prize more treasureable than a gold medal at the Olympic Games which is why the US victory in Beijing tops the list of Kobe’s career moments and accomplishments.
In conclusion, I would just like to say that I am aware that this may be a bit unorthodox when it comes to breaking down a player’s career. I am very aware of the fact that Kobe Bryant has been an 10-time NBA All Star, 10-time All-NBA selection, eight-time All-Defensive selection, as well as a scoring and slam dunk champion. I am also aware of the fact that over the course of his storied career he averages 25 points a game with 4.6 assists and 5.3 rebounds.
But when all is said and done, in my opinion it is just wrong to just take ten of your favorite single game performances or a few slam dunks from a highlight reel and use them to try and summarize someones greatest moments or accomplishments.
Personally, I can talk about his buzzer beating over-time shots and outrageous dunks until i turn blue in the face, but there is so much more to his career than a few games and highlights.
That is why I tried to compile the top ten events that not only had an impact on the fans and Kobe Bryant, but i tried to select events that illustrated his achievements and growth as a person, teammate, and competitor that are not only great moments for the fans, but that were also great moments for him.
It is with this intention that I leave you the top 10 greatest moments in the career of Kobe Bryant.