Kobe Bryant Scores 81 Points!

Sunday, January 22, 2006
It was one of those games you talk about where you were when it happened. I happened to be in the car with my girlfriend after having a great dinner at Houstons. I had missed the previous two Laker games traveling and I didn't want to miss this one, but it was a special occasion so I made an exception.

On the way back from the restaurant I tuned in to see if the Laker game was over. I had caught the first quarter of the game and the Lakers were down by double digits and playing really bad. I wasn't expecting much.

Much to my surprise, I heard the announcer say that Kobe had scored a career high 67 points. I thought I must have misheard. There was no way he could have gone off for 67. Then I thought, the game must be almost over. But there was still five minutes left in the game!

I started to drive quicker, in an attempt to get home to see the end of an historic night. Kobe didn't disappoint. He would go on to score 81 points. 81 POINTS!!!! Do people realize how insane that is? It's the second most points scored in an NBA game ever, second only to Wilt Chamberlain's 100 point game. (which will never be beat. Then again, why bet against Kobe?)

Some people will say Kobe shoots to much, and needs to pass more. But I play a lot of basketball. I've played in games where I thought guys are shooting the ball way too much. But I also have played in games where a guy is just on fire. And if a guy is on his way to score 81 points in a game, you shut up and you pass him the ball. You do everything you possibly can to make sure that he gets as many looks as possible. It's not often you get to witness history.


Kat said...

holy crap

Anonymous said...

81 points is truly a remarkable accomplishment. Nevertheless it has to be somehow discounted against total point scores prior to the 3 point shot. Chamberlain's 100 points is all the more impressive when you consider that the 3 pointer did not exist. If Kobe (or someone) exceeds it, should there be an asterisk?

T said...


I don't think if someone ever breaks Wilt's record there should be an asterisk. It's a different game in a different space. Should Wilt's record be asterisk because zone defenses weren't allowed back then but Kobe constantly faces double and triple teams off the ball? I mean they threw a box-and-one at him last night.

You also can't really diminish the accomplishment too much. Kobe scored 7 three pointers. That still gives him 74 points, the most by anyone not named Wilt.

I would also argue the feat is that much more impressive because Kobe did it from the perimeter. It is crazy that a perimeter player can get anywhere close to that. The greatest player ever, Michael Jordan, had a career high of 69, and he needed overtime to do it.

The energy it takes to handle the ball, break down the defenes, and play defense all over the court is much greater than any post player exerts. So if Shaq or someone else scored 81, I would be a lot less impressed.

David Cho said...

Was the shot clock enforced when Chamberlain played?

When John Wooden recruited Lew Alcindor, he asked him whether his aspiration was the scoring championship or the national championship. Wooden told him he couldn't have both. The young Alcindor chose the latter and the rest is history. He went onto win 3 national championships (back then, freshmen weren't allowed to play). He added 6 more titles to his resume in the NBA.

I think I know what Kobe's answer would have been even though he might very well be narciccistic enough to think he could have done both.

Anonymous said...

David, The NBA had the 24 second clock when Wilt scored 100 points. And the knock on Wilt was that his teams did not win many championships (like Bill Russell's teams did) even with all Wilt's scoring.

Terrence, you are right, Kobe's feat is fantastic, no matter what rules apply. And, true, Wilt probably would not have scored many (if any) 3's had the rule been in place.