In the summer of 2011, an unlikely duel took place at Colonel Leon H. Washington Park. Kobe Bryant who was at that time still in his prime squared off vs an upcoming rising star James Harden. Kobe himself made a couple of phone calls and wanted to play a game in the Drew Summer League.
Kobe’s appearance in the Drew League game was not announced, but once he showed up, the news spread like internet wildfire. Drew League commissioner Dino Smiley was quoted on ESPN:
“It was supposed to have been a surprise, but you couldn’t hold that. Once people knew and got keyed that it was Kobe, they started showing up early. “That’s when the line went about 75 yards out the door. We had to have a sheriff at the door to keep crowd control. We knew it was going to be an unusual amount of people there.”
This game didn’t take place at Staples Center and Bryant wasn’t even wearing a Lakers uniform. Instead, this play that he’s performed countless of other times happened at Colonel Leon H. Washington Park where Bryant played in a Drew League pick-up game during the 2011 NBA lockout.
Kobe and Harden did not disappoint the adoring fans. He dropped in 45 points while Harden went for 47 points. Black Mamba saved the best two for last. With the game tied, Kobe held the ball, with the excited crowd chanting his name, until the closing seconds. He then gave Harden a little crossover, step-back, and POW, game winner—signed, sealed and delivered Kobe Bryant style.
The fans loved it. They stormed the court to give Kobe a little love for letting them witness the great Black Mamba in action.