Scoring has always been effortless for Kobe Bryant. The guy had every trick in the book and will always be considered one of the smoothest, most versatile, most skilled bucket getters the game of basketball has ever seen. And in case you forgot about it, here are some numbers to remind you.
1 eighty-point game, 6 sixty-point games, 26 fifty-point games, 134 forty-point games, 33,643 career points (4th all-time), 16,161 points scored at the Staples (most in a single arena), 40+ point games against every NBA team.
That’s an all-time great scoring resume if I’ve ever seen one. However, a single performance is missing. And while this one didn’t take place in the NBA, it might be the most impressive of them all. I’m talking about his 63-point outing at the age of 8. You’ve read it right – Kobe dropped 63 when he was 8-years-old! Check it out:
Whether it was Kobe at 8, or Kobe at 28, the recipe was the same; read your opponent, and make adjustments. And that’s exactly what young Mamba did. He noticed most kids couldn’t dribble with their off-hand, and so, while guarding the ball, which he made sure it was always, Bryant would let the kids have a couple of dribbles with their strong hand and then make them change it over to their off-hand. Kids would fumble the ball, and Kobe would pick it up and lay it up on the other end.
Upstroke – foundations were laid for the development of one of basketball’s greatest scoring individuals. Because all Kobe did during his NBA run is emulated his own approach when he was 8. He studied his matchups, played through his strengths, and exploited their weaknesses.
He did it as a teenager, going up against his idol in Michael Jordan. He did it on his way to his first three-peat with Shaq. He did it against Tony Allen and the Boston Celtics during his validation, ‘I can win without O’Neal’ run. He did in his final NBA game when he dropped 60 in the win against Utah. But most importantly, he did it first as an 8-year-old playing in Italy. That’s when Black Mamba was born.