Kobe Bryant’s career in the NBA: Stats, records and seasons played
It’s hard to put into words, the immense body of work that Kobe Bryant achieved while playing in the NBA, but if we were forced to choose a single one, it could only be legendary.
In light of the fact that it’s the anniversary of his tragic death, we thought it might be a good idea to take a look at the incredible list of achievements, of one of the best to ever play the game. A basketball player, a husband, a father and without doubt an inspirational human being, the late and the great, Kobe Bryant.
Kobe Bryant was unreal
Truly one of the greatest athletes in sporting history, Kobe Bryant had an influence that went way beyond the courts of the NBA. Indeed, though he spent his entire career playing for the Los Angeles Lakers as a shooting guard, Bryant’s name was known the world over and for more than just his basketball skills. Whether it was his inspiring developmental work through his Mamba Foundation, where he tried to instill what he called the “Mamba Mentality” in young athletes, or his mentorship inner city kids to pave a path to a better life, Kobe was so much more than just an amazing ball player.
With a reputation for an almost machine-like work ethic, it’s no wonder that many of Bryant’s sporting achievements are still standing to this day, but as is always the case, numbers only tell one side of the story. That being said, consider for a moment that Kobe scored 60 points in his very last game. Not much else to say about that. Yet, let’s back track a bit to a time before the bright lights of the NBA, when Kobe lived with his family in Italy. His father, a former professional player, was on contract in the Italian league at the time and with that, young Kobe got his first taste of the hoops. Later, at the tender age of 18, Bryant would make a pivotal decision that would see him miss college in the name of a direct path to the NBA. He was fresh out of high-school, but became an NBA All-Star in only his second season.
Kobe Bryant’s incredible career with the Los Angeles Lakers
Ahead of the 1996 NBA Draft, Bryant actually worked out in Los Angeles where he ended up scrimmaging with two former Lakers players, Larry Drew and Michael Cooper. As the story goes, then general manager Jerry West “marched over to these people,” because he was so taken by what he saw. At the time, the Lakers were trying to trade their starting center, Vlade Divac for a player’s draft rights in an effort to free up cap space. Why? Shaquille O’Neal had just become a free agent, that’s why. As luck would have it, Bill Branch who was head scout for the Charlotte Hornets at the time agreed to trade their No. 13 pick to LA just one day before the Draft. As we now know, the Lakers told the Hornets to select just minutes before the pick was made and with that, Kobe Bryant became the first guard drafted directly out of high school, but more importantly a player for the Los Angeles Lakers.
What came next was on one side only natural, but on the other absolutely spectacular. With Shaquille O’Neal now in the fold, the pair became the two focal points for a team that proceeded to dominate the NBA to the tune of three consecutive NBA Championships between 2000 and 2002. Yet, it was not to last. Following the 2002 title run, the Lakers seemed to lose their way and it would be seven years before their next title. Needless to say, Kobe Bryant was a major part of it. Leading the Lakers to an NBA title in both 2009 and 2010, Bryant would finish his career a 5-time NBA Champion with 1 MVP to his name. To that point, some have often criticized him for not having won more, but to that we can only say: ‘whatever helps you to sleep at night.’
What do Kobe Bryant’s numbers look like?
As we said before, numbers only tell a part of the story, but they definitely give you a clear perspective on what’s normal vs what’s exceptional. With that in mind let’s take a look at the career stats of the guy who once scored 81-points in a single game, which is you didn’t know was the highest amount score since Wilt Chamberlain put 100 on the board back in 1962.
|The Stat||The Numbers|
|Total Career Points||33,643|
|Total Career Assists||6,306|
|Points Per Game (Career)||25.0|
|Assists Per Game (Career)||4.7|
|Highest PPG in a season||35.4|
Of course, there are also his records, a whole lot of them in fact. Yet, perhaps notable of them would be his four All-Star Game MVP awards - the most ever - or even the 15 All-NBA Team honors which count as the most won by a guard in NBA history. Then, there are things like the fact that he still has the record - tied with Bob Petit - for highest score against the rest of teams in the league - It was more than 40 point for each. Mention should also be made of when he became the youngest player in NBA history to start a game. He was 18 years and 158 days at the time. Bryant was also the youngest player to start an All-Star game just one year later, whe he was 19 years and 169 days. Incredibly, Kobe remains the only player in the league’s history to have scored 600 points in the postseason across three straight campaigns. Of course, it would probably be tiring to list all of Kobe’s milestones here, but before we bring this to an end, we’ll leave you with one more: Kobe Bryant remains to this day, the only player in NBA history to have two jersey numbers retired in a single franchise. That would be No. 8 and No. 24 which today, is fittingly the date of Kobe Bryant Day. Rest in peace legend.
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