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Kobe Bryant’s Greatest Buzzer-Beaters and Clutch Moments

| January 27, 2020 3:20 am PDT
Top 5 Clutch Plays by Kobe Bryant

Kobe Bryant is now tragically no longer with us, but his legacy will remain in NBA history forever. The man was one of the toughest competitors and best clutch players ever to grace the league.

There were some amazing performances from Bryant during his career, but it was his ability to deliver when it matters the most that earned him the nickname the Black Mamba.

In this post, I look back at Kobe Bryant’s best clutch moments.

Winning in Overtime vs. the Suns in 2006

Selecting the most clutch moment of Kobe’s career was hard, but I decided to start with the fourth game in the playoffs against the Suns in 2006.

The Black Mamba was in the prime of his career but had to carry a mediocre Lakers roster. Despite the lack of help, Kobe did enough to ensure his team was in the playoffs.

In the first round, the Lakers had to face the top seed Phoenix Suns that were overwhelming favorites.

Kobe and his teammates were 2-1 up before game 4, but the Suns were leading by 2 with only several seconds left and had the ball.

The Lakers went on to steal it from Steve Nash, and Bryant tied with a remarkable shot with only 2 seconds left.

He then went one step further by winning the game with a heavily contested buzzer-beater in overtime. Just enjoy sheer greatness.

Buzzer-Beaters vs. the Portland Trail Blazers in 2004

Many believe this is the greatest clutch moment of Kobe’s career, and I almost agree. I’m only putting in second place, though, because the game against the Trail Blazers was in the regular season and not in the playoffs.

And yet, it produced two of the most phenomenal clutch plays in the entire history of the sport.

Towards the end of the regular time, the Lakers were three points down with only a couple seconds left. Kobe was struggling to find space and had to unleash a heavily contested shot from behind the arc.

He somehow tied the game and then went on to win it with another buzzer-beater in the second overtime.

Shooting Over Wade Against Miami Heat in 2009

The next clutch moment is on this list mostly because of how tough it was. Dwayne Wade was guarding Kobe in the dying moments of a regular season game between the Heat and the Lakers in 2009.

The surging team from Miami had a two-point lead, and Bryant was the man who took responsibility. Dwayne Wade did his best to make his life miserable, and it looked close to impossible for the Black Mamba to score.

Well, you probably know what happened, so simply enjoy the video below.

Punishing the Spurs in the 2002 Conference Semifinals

Kobe Bryant had a lot of epic encounters with the San Antonio Spurs during his career and came out on top on multiple occasions.

It was inevitable to see his heroics from the Western Conference Semifinals in 2002 here. The Lakers were leading the series 2-1 but struggled at times in the fourth game.

Kobe wasn’t shooting well, and the likes of David Robinson, Tim Duncan, and Bruce Bowen were doing their best to prevent him from scoring.

The game was tied at 85 with close to 30 seconds left. The Black Mamba kept the ball with the intention to wait for the last possible second and make his move but almost turned it over.

Derek Fisher recovered it and unleashed a shot that hit the rim. Kobe was there to grab the offensive rebound despite the presence of Tony Parker and the Twin Towers. He made the layup to give the Lakers a 3-1 lead. The franchise then proceeded to win the NBA title for the third time in a row.

You can enjoy one of the most epic plays of Kobe’s career at the 5:13 mark of the video below.

Earning the Reputation of a Clutch Player vs. the Suns in 2000

One of the earliest displays of Kobe’s character came in the 2000 playoffs against the Phoenix Suns. It was in the Western Conference semifinal game 2.

The Lakers were down one with only seconds left, and Bryant was guarded by Jason Kidd. The Suns’ playmaker has the reputation of one of the best perimeter defenders ever. If that wasn’t enough, he received help from Rodney Rogers.

Despite the two contests, Kobe made the shot to give the Lakers the lead and start the legend of the Black Mamba.

You can see the play after 4:30 in the following video.

Final Words

I’m sure that some of you will have other ideas about Kobe Bryant’s top five clutch moments, because the man had so many iconic hustle plays and buzzer-beaters in his career.

If that’s the case, don’t judge me too harshly, but share your own favorite shots in the comments below.

Jerry Summer

Jerry Summer has a wide-ranging interest in gambling and the gambling industry. He's made a living out of both playing poker and betting on sports.

The English Premier League and the NBA are among Jerry's primary areas of expertise. He's knowledgeable about many other sports, too, along with poker and several casino games.

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