Monday, January 08, 2007
2006 Hotel California #3 Event of the Year
#3 On Jan. 22nd 2006 we witnessed history. The next day, the paper’s read:
Kobe's 81-point game second only to Wilt
LOS ANGELES 1.23.06 (AP) -- Kobe Bryant, often unstoppable, played at a higher level than even he imagined possible. The Los Angeles Lakers' star scored a phenomenal 81 points Sunday night -- the second-highest total in NBA history -- in a 122-104 victory over the Toronto Raptors. Only Wilt Chamberlain's storied 100-point game nearly 44 years ago ranks higher. "Not even in my dreams," Bryant said. "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." "That was something to behold," Phil Jackson said. "It was another level. I've seen some remarkable games, but I've never seen one like that before."
On a day after the NFL Conference Championships, nobody was talking about anything but Kobe’s 81. For all the praise there was an equal amount of criticism. Below are some of those comments, but before reading here are the unbiased facts: On Jan. 22nd 2006, then #8 Kobe Bryant scored 81 points. They came on 60.9% shooting 28-46 in just under 42 minutes of play, including 7-of-13 three-pointers (53.8%). He shot 18-of-20 free throws, and also had 6 rebounds, 2 assists, 3 steals, 3 turnovers and 1 block. He scored 26 points in the first half at which point the Lakers trailed by 18 points. He then scored 55 points in the second half.
Justin in Toronto: I realized halfway through the fourth quarter that I was witnessing the greatest NBA performance of our era.
Nick in Oregon: I did not see the game but I am completely and utterly confused as to how Kobe can score 81 points in our day in age. He has a team of at least 4 or 5 other competent guys. I see this game not as Kobe proving he is on of the best players to ever play the game but more or less he is one of the most selfish players. When wilt played, not only was he 7 feet tall and dominant over most of the players in his time, however, there was no back court rule and he could stand down at the other end and cherry-pick. Any player in todays day in age, with basketball as evolved as it is, is extremely self involved if he even makes an attempt at this! I am not saying that it wasnt amazing and fun to watch, it was. But it does bring up the topic, "whome is the most narcissistic and self-consumed individual to ever play the game?"
Peter Beck in Munich: Ridiculous. Crazy ridiculous. I don't like the guy, but damn, do I respect him. For the league it's pretty great that he's not sitting in jail right now, we really would have missed out on something.
Ali in Los Angeles: I was at the game and words cannot explain.... going into the third quarter a lot of the crowd was silent, not to mention disturbed, I mean the lakers were losing bad to the raptors.. THEN.. the third quarter unfolds... shot after shot, I mean it was just unbelievable. How he gets into a rhythm and just keeps going is beyond me. Going into the fourth the crowd was electric. I think a lot of people there had a feeling they were about to witness history, I know thats how I felt. My friend kept saying "hes gonna hit 80" and I kept telling him shut up.. I guess I was wrong. Overall it was just amazing to be able to witness and be a part of history. Amazing!
Blazer Prophet in Porland: I just can't get on the "I love Kobe" bandwagon. He's a rappist and shouldn't even be playing. To me, he's THE poster boy for all that's wrong in the NBA.
Drew in Sausalito, Ca: 81 points would be a great accomplishment if he didn't shoot everytime. If you let my mom throw up 46 shots in a game her stats are gonna look good. No guard should ever score that many points in a game because only an inside player can dominate while taking high percentage shots.
James in Huntington Beach, CA said: I watched the whole game, and the Lakers looked terrible in the first half. By the time we were down 18 in the third quarter, everyone on the Lakers had already been given plenty of opportunity to make a difference. From that point forward, Kobe got red hot and took over the game, as he should have done, bringing the team all the way back and into the lead (with the help of good pressure defense). Kobe's efficiency was out of this world in the game. There was no element of selfishness there by Kobe, other than wanting to win so bad that he refused to lose.
"Butch" in San Jose, Ca said: The Lakers will not win another championship with this type of display. The last time I checked, basketball was a team sport — check out the Detroit Pistons' game.
Rich in Los Angeles: Once, just once I hope the media and Kobe-haters alike can sit back, shut up, and applaud Kobe for his brilliant effort on Sunday night rather than look for ways to put an asterisk by it. Thanks for the memories Kobe.
Jim Rome 1-23-2006 said: I didn’t think there was anything that could prevent me from leading off today’s show with a rant or four about the conference title games in the NFL. Then again, I didn’t think I’d ever see the day someone would go for 81 in an NBA game the way Kobe Bryant did last night. When he lit the Mavericks up for 63 through three quarters a few weeks back and then sat out the fourth, I said it was a huge mistake. That Kobe was looking at a once in a lifetime opportunity and he would never get another chance like that again. Of course, by never, I meant a month later. And had he not been such a slack in the first half when he went for only 26, he may have hit them with a C note. And yes, he did have to jack it up 46 times to get his 81, but when the guy is in the zone like that, who do you expect him to pass it to? You’re not looking to dish to Smush Parker for the open J when you’re on track for a double nickel half. I don’t think you need to worry about rotating the ball to Chris Mihm in the post when you’re about to go for 80 plus. Bryant going for 81 last night, might just be the stupidest thing I have ever seen in my life.
So there you go, take Rome’s word for it, or “Butch” in San Jose. As for me, my favorite part was this: “Magic Johnson called Bryant in the locker room to congratulate him, which Bryant said might have meant more than the game itself, because he grew up idolizing Johnson.” Didn’t we all. You know, most of the hater comments came from NoCal. Another reason why they are so jealous of us true Californians. But, don’t get me started on Southern Oregon. And lastly, did you guys see who substituted for Kobe with 4.2 seconds left in the game? Devin Green. And, let me tell you, that was the most productive dribbling-out-the-clock I’ve ever seen. I am going to watch his career with great interest. But, what I don’t get is he was wearing #11. Wasn’t that Karl Malone’s Laker number? I think it was. You mean, that jersey wasn’t retired? Not fair. Below are a couple links to watch Kobe’s #3 event on the Hotel California Top Ten. I recommend the first two. The third is a more concise version. And the fourth is my Christmas Card, just in case you wanted to watch that again. By the way, I just heard that Kobe recently passed A.C. Green into the #8 spot of players playing games in a Laker uniform.
WOW! What an event. And at #3, you know the last two must be amazing. You'll only find out if you check back in tomorrow.