Kobe Bryant’s career high in points, assists, field goal attempts and more

Kobe Bryant's career bests

When we talk about the greatest scorers in the NBA, Kobe Bryant‘s name comes early in the conversation for good reason. Kobe is third all-time in total points and only Wilt Chamberlain has scored more points in a single NBA game. We’ll talk more about Kobe’s records later.

Lucky #13 and a Rough Start

Looking back, it’s unfathomable to think that 12 NBA teams passed on Kobe in the 1996 Draft. It’s harder to imagine that the Charlotte Hornets, who picked him 13th overall would trade Kobe five days after drafting him. But that’s how history transpired. Jerry West, then Lakers General Manager, saw the diamond in the rough when he traded Vlade Divac for Kobe’s draft rights. Since that day, the history of the Lakers’ franchise changed forever.

Well, it took a little longer as the 18-year old Kobe came off the bench in his rookie and Sophomore seasons before earning a starting spot. From there, Bryant’s impact was felt  — eventually leading the league in scoring in 2005-06 and 2006-07, and an MVP in 2007-08.

Bryant played all of his 20 pro seasons in the Purple and Gold, the most seasons ever that any one olayer has spent with a single franchise.  He led the Lakers to five NBA titles, three with Shaquille O’Neal by his side and two with Pau Gasol as his (7-foot) sidekick. And when it was all said and done, Bryant retired as the Lakers’ all -time top scorer and the NBA’s third all-time leading scorer.

Kobe’s Career High in Points: Dropping 81 on Toronto

career high in points for Kobe

Perhaps the most impressive stat in Bryant’s long list of career highs is his single game scoring record.

On January 22, 2006, it was raining in Los Angeles. Specifically, it was raining inside the Teh Staples Center. Kobe Bryant was dropping buckets in a dazzling display of offensive skills unlike most have ever seen. At the end of the night, Bryant scored an unbelievable 81 points on the Toronto Raptors.

The Mamba shot 28-46 from the field (60.9%), 18-20 from the foul line, grabbed six rebounds, two assists, stole the ball twice and blocked one shot in 42 minutes of action. The Lakers beat the Raptors 122-104 after trailing by 18 points at one point in the third period.

Lakers’ public announcer Lawrence Tanter recalls that day and how official scorer John Radcliffe had a hard time fitting Bryant’s numbers in the small boxes:

“He was having a very difficult time finding room in the boxes on the scorebook to put all these points down that Kobe was scoring,” Tanter said. “It was a tedious effort on his behalf to do that because he’d never faced anything like that either. He just kept going, ‘Man, I’ve got to write smaller.'”

This was the stat sheet that Tanter was referring to:

Kobe's best

Kobe Bryant’s Career Bests in Points, Rebounds and Assists

After two decades in the NBA, here’s what Kobe Bryant’s single-game career bests looks like across every major statistical category (except triple doubles which is for the season):

Kobe Bryant's NBA Career Highs
Category Career High Date Opponent
Points 81 01/22/06 Raptors
Rebounds 16 01/24/10 Raptors
Assists 17  01/15/15 Cavaliers
Steals 7  02/13/06 Jazz
Blocks 5 (3x) last 02/02/01 Hornets
Offensive Rebounds 8 04/18/00 Mavericks
Defensive Rebounds 13 (2x) last 01/24/10 Raptors
Triple Doubles 5 (2x) 2004-05
Field Goals Made 28 01/22/06 Raptors
Field Goals Attempts 50 04/13/16 Jazz
3 Pointers Made 12 01/07/03 SuperSonics
3 Point Attempts 21 04/13/16 Jazz
Free Throws Made 23 (2x) last 01/31/06 Knicks
Free Throw Attempts 27 (2x) last 03/02/08 Mavericks
Turnovers 11 last 01/31/08 Pistons
FIC 46.50 01/22/06 Raptors

Kobe’s Final Game: Blaze of Glory

Kobe's Final Game

Kobe Bryant’s legacy was both loyalty and excellence. So it was but fitting that during his final NBA game on April 13, 2016, Bryant ended his career in Kobe fashion. The 2015-16 was Bryant’s 20th season with the Lakers and as we mentioned, no other player in history has spent more years with a single NBA ball club. What we’re trying to say is that it was kind of a big thing.

At that time though, the Lakers were in the middle of rebuilding; Kobe found himself surrounded by a team of young players with no chance at the playoffs, much less another NBA title. Gone were the pieces that helped Kobe win back to back titles after the Shaq era. Bryant was an old man among players barely out of their teenage years: Jordan Clarkson, DiAngelo Russell, Larry Nance Jr. and Julius Randle.

It was the worst season in Los Angeles Lakers franchise history, but Bryant’s grand exit seemingly erased the season-long heartache, disappointment and frustration with a performance that tantalized his fellow NBA players, Lakers fans, and the sports world as a whole.

Bryant would score 60 points against Utah (and set a career high with 50 field goal attempts). In that game, Kobe knocked down a triple that gave the Lakers a 97-96 lead bringing the entire Staples Center on its feet for the majority of the fourth quarter. He finished the game with an assist before checking out with 4.1 seconds remaining and the game firmly in the Lakers hand.
His outburst rallied the Lakers from 15 points down to one final victory before riding into the sunset. The final score: Lakers 101, Utah Jazz 96.

It was a storybook ending to one of the greatest NBA careers of all-time. And it was but fitting it ended at home, with a win that had Kobe shooting every shot; recording his first (and last) 50 point performance in seven years.

“The perfect ending would have been a championship,” Bryant said with a smile. “But tonight was (me) trying to go out, play hard and try to put on a show as much as I possibly could. It felt good to be able to do that one last time.”

The Black Mamba’s Resume of Greatness

How Kobe succeeded in his career

Like it or not, Bryant gave himself the nickname the Black Mamba after watching Quentin Tarantino’s ‘Kill Bill 2’ movie. The venomous snake was used as a code name for a deadly assassin. Bryant recalled the day he christened himself as the Black Mamba:

“I read up on the animal and said, ‘Wow, this is pretty awesome’. This is a perfect description of how I would want my game to be.”

Agile, aggressive and accurate. That’s how the Black Mamba works against its prey. In fact, the deadly snake has a 99.9% kill rate. Such was the perfection Bryant pursued and worked for night after night in his NBA career. That Mamba attitude has enabled Kobe Bryant to achieve these individual accolades:

  • 5× NBA champion (2000–2002, 2009, 2010)
  • 2× NBA Finals MVP (2009, 2010)
  • NBA Most Valuable Player (2008)
  • 18× NBA All-Star (1998, 2000–2016)
  • 4× NBA All-Star Game MVP (2002, 2007, 2009, 2011)
  • 11× All-NBA First Team (2002–2004, 2006–2013)
  • 2× All-NBA Second Team (2000, 2001)
  • 2× All-NBA Third Team (1999, 2005)
  • 9× NBA All-Defensive First Team (2000, 2003, 2004, 2006–2011)
  • 3× NBA All-Defensive Second Team (2001, 2002, 2012)
  • 2× NBA scoring champion (2006, 2007)
  • NBA Slam Dunk Contest champion (1997)
  • NBA All-Rookie Second Team (1997)
  • Naismith Prep Player of the Year (1996)


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