Kobe Bryant reveals that the one and only time his grandmother came to watch him play live, was when he happened to score 81 points.
Kobe Bryant is widely regarded as one of, if not the, greatest scorers the NBA has seen in its 75 years of existence. The ‘Black Mamba’ had it all in his bag: stepbacks, fadeaways, the footwork, athleticism, and to top it all off, a drive to be the best player on the best team in the league. Well, after a storied 20 year career, it’s safe to say he achieved what he set out to achieve.
NBA fans know Kobe Bryant as the uber successful Lakers legend who brought 5 title to Los Angeles in a span of eleven years. However, some might forget the dreaded 2005-2008 stretch, prior to trading for Pau Gasol, that saw the Lakers dwell in no-man’s land.
Bryant would continue to make All-Star, All-NBA, and All-Defensive teams during this stretch but at the cost of postseason success. The lack of help around him led him to average over 27 shots per game in the ‘05-06 season, which in turn resulted in him having the greatest scoring outburst since the 1960s.
Kobe Bryant talks about his grandmother attending the Lakers-Raptors game in January of 2006.
Kobe Bryant sat down with Graham Bensinger after having retired to talk about various moments during his career. Of course, when covering Bryant’s 20 years in the league, it’s impossible to not bring up the time he dropped 81 points on the Toronto Raptors in 2006.
While talking about it, Kobe revealed it just so happened to be the one and only time his grandmother came out to see him play live for the Los Angeles Lakers.
“The day that I actually scored 81 was my grandfather’s birthday who had passed away a few years before. My grandmother, who had never seen me play in the NBA just ‘cause her nerves couldn’t take it, flew out to California and came to watch me play for the first time and the only time. That just so happened to be the night I scored 81.”
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Kobe Bryant doesn’t delve into whether or not his performance was motivated by his grandmother’s presence in the arena but one can put two-and-two together to guess that it had something to do with it.