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Kobe Bryant Hit 7 Game-Winners In The 2009-10 Season To Single-Handedly Carry The Los Angeles Lakers To The First Seed In The Western Conference

Phil Handy Reveals Kobe Bryant Was The Only Reason He Became A Coach: "I Wanted The Opportunity To See If My Skillset As A Trainer Was Good Enough To Impact A Guy Like Kobe."

Kobe Bryant might be one of the most influential players of his generation. Starting as a teenager for the Los Angeles Lakers, many pundits and critics were quick to write off the shooting guard, but with time, the 6'6" guard showed why he was a risk worth taking. Winning three championships in a row alongside Shaquille O'Neal, Kobe etched his name in the Lakers' history books.

While it all started with a bang for Kobe, once Shaq left the Lakers in 2004, the Purple and Gold looked like a shell of themselves. With no second superstar on his team, Kobe looked helpless, dragging the Lakers to playoffs and eventual first-round or second-round exits. 

The future certainly looked dark for the Lakers when even 'Black Mamba' demanded a trade from the team. With their backs against the wall, the Lakers knew they had to do something. Bringing in All-Star Pau Gasol in a last ditch effort was a game changer. After a Finals appearance and a championship win, the Lakers were certainly back on track.

After winning the 2009 title, the Lakers looked set to dominate the league once again. But they had a few hiccups in the regular season, suffering some unexpected losses. Bryant was back to the rescue as he yet again led the team in both points and assists per game. 

Not only that, Kobe was an absolute monster when it came to clutch time. Hitting a mind-boggling seven game-winners in the regular season, Bryant's contribution was huge for the Lakers.

To put things into perspective, the Lakers in the 2009-10 season ended up with a record of 57-25 record finishing as the first seed in the tightly contested Western Conference. If not for the 7 game-winners by the 'Mamba', the Lakers would have finished the season with a 50-32 record which would have been the tied 6th best record in the Western Conference. 

This could have changed the playoff picture as well as the Lakers would have played a powerhouse in the Phoenix Suns in the very first round rather than an inexperienced Oklahoma City Thunder side.

Kobe certainly carried his form in the playoffs as well. With the Lakers eventually facing off against the Boston Celtics in the Finals, it was Kobe and Co. who got their revenge as they defeated the Celtics in 7 games to win their second title in a row. While the three championships made him a star in the league, the last two titles with the Lakers made him a legend of the franchise as well as the league.