This Day In History (1.22.06): Kobe Bryant scored 81 points
This day in history, on January 22nd of the 2006, Kobe Bryant had his “Salvador Dali” masterpiece. A masterpiece so difficult to create, it’s even difficult to do in video games.
“Not even in my dreams,” Bryant said after scoring a career-high 81 against the Raptors. “That was something that just happened. It’s tough to explain. It’s just one of those things. It really hasn’t, like, set in for me. It’s about the `W,’ that’s why I turned it on. It turned into something special. To sit here and say I grasp what happened, that would be lying.”
Speaking as a Laker fan and somebody who had Kobe Byrant on their fantasy team that night, it was hard for me to even grasp what Kobe did….and I watched Kobe beat Lester Earl in a high school dunk contest; I watched a young Kobe go from cameos on the TV show Hang Time to showing off his hang time over Ben Wallace and Tim Duncan; I watched Kobe go from Robin to Batman to a superhero/star who once outscored a team over three quarters.
By 2006, I thought I saw everything there was to see out of the three-time NBA champion and then he put up more points in one night than my next top three scorers on my fantasy team scored that night and my other players weren’t scrubs. When I say scrubs, I mean the rest of the starters on Kobe’s team that night.
In 2014, Kobe caused a little controversy when he talked about that season’s team of “scrubs,” which included Smush Parker, who Kobe called his worst teammate ever.
“’I almost won an MVP with Smush Parker and Kwame Brown on my team. I was shooting 45 times a game. What was I supposed to do? Pass it to Chris Mihm or Kwame Brown.”
He actually took 46 (of the teams 88) on this night and as mentioned, had no plans of passing the ball (for good reason). He had two assists that night or you could say an assist for every 40.5 points that night. The one other starter not mentioned in Kobe’s statement was a pre Kardashian Lamar Odom, who finished with only eight points or you could say a 10th of Kobe’s scoring output that night.
“That was something to behold,” Coach Phil Jackson said. “It was another level. I’ve seen some remarkable games, but I’ve never seen one like that before.”
The performance still stands as a game for the ages and who better to talk about it than Kobe himself. On the the 7th anniversary of the game, Kobe watched it for the first time (so he says) and tweeted during the broadcast. The following are all of Kobe’s tweets along with some supplemental videos.