Tonight I saw the greatest offensive performance in a basketball game I have ever seen. Kobe Bryant scored 62 points. But that’s not all. He didn’t play the fourth quarter. After three quarters he had 62 points; the entire Mavericks team had 61.
It was one of the 10 highest individual scoring games in Lakers history. The most by one Laker player in a game is 71 by Elgin Baylor. Kobe could have beat that, but there was no point. The fourth quarter was garbage time.
I’m not entirely sure, but I think you’d have to go back to one of those early ‘60s games in which Wilt Chamberlain scored at will to find something comparable to tonight’s performance.
Like Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant plays with a fierce will to win. It is a joy to watch.
There was a little side story to the performance. In the third quarter Kobe came down after a shot and accidentally hit Dirk Nowitzki in the face with his forearm. This angered Nowitzki, who threw his mouthpiece and got a technical foul. A few minutes later a Mavericks player paid Kobe back with a flagrant foul to the face. Kobe got mad, just like Dirk, but he didn’t throw his mouthpiece. He didn’t get a technical foul. He just went on to score 30 points that quarter.
Tonight Kobe gave us an inspiring display of excellence. It was like a lesson in achievement: this is what a man can do.
UPDATE: Thanks to Deadspin for linking to this post.