Five Career-Defining Moments for Kobe Bryant

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2000-2002: Bryant and center Shaquille O’Neal combine to spark the Los Angeles Lakers to three consecutive NBA titles. The Lakers win their first title since 1988 by defeating Indiana in the 2000 championship series, then downed Philadelphia in the 2001 final and swept New Jersey in 2002. Bryant became, at 23, the youngest player in NBA history to win three crowns.

2003-2004: Bryant was arrested after being accused of a sexual assault by a 19-year-old hotel employee in Colorado, where he was having a knee operation. Bryant admitted adultery but denied he forced the woman to have sex, the situation damaging his reputation. In 2004, the case was dropped by prosecutors after the accuser refused to testify. Bryant later apologized, saying he could see how there was miscommunication. A separate civil lawsuit between the two parties was settled but both sides refused to release details.

January 22, 2006: Bryant scored a career-high 81 points in a victory against the Toronto Raptors, a Lakers record and the second-highest game total in NBA history to the 100-point game of Wilt Chamberlain in 1962.

August 2008 and 2012: Bryant helped the US Olympic basketball team capture gold at Beijing and London after the Americans stumbled to bronze in 2004 at Athens. Bryant and his star power was a major attraction in China and together with LeBron James he helped the “Redeem Team” restore US pride and then defend the crown at London.


2009-2010: Bryant wins his fourth and fifth NBA crowns, leading the Lakers past Orlando in 2009 and the Lakers in a dramatic seventh-game showdown in 2010.

AFP

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