Kobe Bryant’s Legendary 17th Season: One For The Ages

Kobe Bryant’s Legendary 17th Season: One For The Ages



Well, this is the hangover. Much like the one I placed myself in on Saturday morning following a heart-breaking Friday night, this is it.

It’s the reality that Kobe Bryant won’t be suiting up for the remainder of the season (or the playoffs if the Lakers make it) after rupturing his left Achilles tendon, and could very well never be the same again.

However, it’s also time to reflect upon one of the greatest individual seasons the Black Mamba has ever put on display.

He bled for this team. He sweat for this team. And finally, he shed tears for this team.

All of it was in an effort to give his team a chance to make the playoffs and possibly win a championship in the end.

—- Test your black mamba knowledge by taking this Kobe Bryant quiz! —-

Make no mistake about it. The Lakers may have been fighting for the eighth spot in the West, but Kobe Bryant still saw the Larry O’Brien trophy at the end of the journey; and he pushed himself to the fullest possible level to give his team and this great city of Los Angeles all he could, to grasp it for the sixth time.

He certainly gave us a show and did it in a manner that only Kobe Bryant is capable of; full of passion, flair and determination.

Along the way, he adapted his game numerous times in an effort to will his team to victory.

First, he came into this season shooting lights out (well above 50 percent).

Then, he altered his game on January 25 to became a facilitator after sensing the need to distribute the ball–averaging 8.5 assists up until the All-Star break in the process.

The Eight-Game Stretch

Following the All-Star break, Kobe had a remarkable eight-game stretch in which he averaged 35.9 points, 6.9 rebounds, and 6.9 assists; all of this on 55.6 percent shooting from the field and 47.8 percent shooting from behind the three-point arc. It was a stretch that rivaled–or in some people’s view, surpassed–LeBron James’ six-game streak in which he averaged 30.8 points on 71.7 percent shooting from the field, along with 6.7 rebounds and 6.5 assists.

After all, Kobe had this fiery dunk over Josh Smith against the Atlanta Hawks during his stretch:

Kobe’s stretch also came with this savvy breakaway dunk to put the game out of the New Orleans Hornets’ reach, while bringing out the “Mamba Bite” in the process:

Lastly, Kobe’s final game of “The Stretch” came with three nearly impossible three-pointers to force the game into overtime against the Toronto Raptors; a game in which the Lakers would go on to win, 118-116:

That’s not necessarily a knock on LeBron James, but rather a fascination with the fact that Kobe Bryant was able to compete with and even stand out among some of these other great players (James, Kevin Durant, Carmelo Anthony, Chris Paul, etc.) who are in their respective primes, at 34 years of age and with 17 seasons (plus multiple playoff appearances) under his belt.

That particular stretch of games earned him the nickname “Vino,” which was in reference to the perplexing notion that Kobe Bryant was appearing to be better than ever in his 17th year of play.

Next Page: Kobe’s Incredible Conditioning

  • Lakers_824

    We took kobe for granted all these years now that he’s gone everyone see the impact he had on the game not just in the states even all around the world from china to Europe to Africa. Even the haters are saying that they hate kobe but they gonn miss what he bring to the game.I’m really starting to believe that we have all witnessed Kobe last season playing at a high level. Who knows what’s going to happen maybe he comes back stronger like Adrian Peterson or Dominique or maybe it’s just a end to a legendary career. Let me ask u this WTF is the nba without the mamba??

    • Suki Thind

      There’s certainly nobody with the same kind of passion and fire he displays in the NBA. I don’t think it’s the last of #24, though. He’ll be back. Not sure if he’ll be as good or stronger, but he’ll be back and still be a dominant player. I’ve learned to NEVER doubt that man, though, so I’m expecting he’ll be back soon and in great shape.

      • Lakes_824@hotmail.com

        I know he will come back next year but im going to miss the high flying, dunking on ppl, airtime kobe tho. I hope he is ready by next year and jim buss dont do anything stupid like amnesty kobe.

        • Suki Thind

          I don’t think even Jimmy would think about doing that. And yes, that’s what I’ll miss the most too if Kobe can’t come back as strong as he did. I think of Michael Jordan with the Wizards when he had to rely on his jumpshot every night. Kobe will still be able to post, and will probably use the post more like he did in 2011 when he was out there on one leg–pump faking multiple times and all. BUT, I’m sure he’s thinking about all of that in his recovery and he’s going to do everything in his power to keep that explosion. Getting into the line and getting to the basket this season like he hadn’t in the last 4-5 seasons really allowed him to dominate even more. I’m sure he’s going to figure out a way to still do that. The comforting this is we know he’ll be in the best possible shape and condition when he does return. Maybe he’ll be the same player, maybe not. I just wouldn’t be too surprised if he comes back close to where he was before he went down. All of this talk is certainly motivating him.

  • Gt1

    Simply, Kobe is da BEST.
    No disrespect to other great players, but Kobe has dominated the league for the last 17 years. He by far has more qualities in one athlete that you rarely find in others. Btw when games he played in the playoffs and Olympics aree added up, he has played equivalent to 20 seasons, and still he dominates. Simply said, he is a symbol of greatness, determination, willingness to win it all.
    Great article thank you!

  • cesar lascaster