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Kobe Bryant Wins A Gold Medal A Day After His 30th Birthday

Kobe Bryant Wins A Gold Medal A Day After His 30th Birthday

Kobe Bryant is one of the greatest players the game of basketball has ever seen. August 23rd would have been Kobe's 44th birthday if he hadn't tragically passed away in 2020. When it comes to birthdays and the NBA, players normally have great games on their birthdays.

There's something about turning a year older and going out on the court and celebrating with a huge performance. Unfortunately for Kobe, having a summer birthday meant he was never able to play an NBA game on his birthday.

The NBA might not play during the summer, but the Olympic Games for basketball do play during the summer. Kobe Bryant played in two Olympic Games, and he still never played a game on his birthday.

In 2008, Kobe may not have played a game on his birthday, but he did play a day after his 30th birthday, and he gave himself the best birthday present you can think of... A gold medal.


Kobe Bryant Earns Gold After Turning 30

The USA Olympic Men's Basketball Team surprisingly only won the bronze medal in the 2004 Olympic Games. The team, despite having the talents of Allen Iverson, Tim Duncan, and a 19-year-old LeBron James, struggled against the competition.

The International basketball world was catching up to the United States, and Team USA knew they needed to do something about it. In 2008, the “Redeem Team” was born, and they were led by a more mature LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Kobe Bryant.

Team USA had a much stronger showing in the 2008 Olympic Games compared to the 2004 team. The main reason was Kobe Bryant. His leadership and defensive pressure on opponents' guards really shifted things in the United States' favor.

On August 23, 2008, Kobe celebrated his 30th birthday. The next day, Team USA was going to play Spain for the gold medal. Kobe would turn this game into one big birthday gift to himself.

Team Spain played Team USA very tightly in the gold medal game. At one point, it appeared that Team USA might lose out on a second straight gold medal as they held onto a 91-89 with 8:13 remaining in the game. Then Kobe took over.

Kobe would lead Team USA on an incredible run, as he scored 13 of his 20 points in the final period. On top of scoring, Kobe recorded 3 assists and 2 blocks in the final stretch of the game.

The biggest play of the game occurred with 3:10 remaining in the game. Team USA's lead was cut back to five, 104-99, and Team USA needed a big bucket to put some distance between them and Spain, and Kobe would deliver that for Team USA.

The ball ended up in Kobe's hands with less than 10 seconds remaining on the shot clock. Kobe was guarded closely by Rudy Fernandez. After a jap step, Kobe gained enough room to fire up a three-pointer, and Kobe took his shot.

The whistle blew as the ball left Kobe's hands. Fernandez fouled Kobe on the shot, and the entire arena watched as the ball spun through the air. The ball splashed through the net, and the crowd roared in excitement.

One of the most iconic Team USA photos occurred after Kobe's shot. He stood there holding his finger up to his mouth, indicating he was silencing the Spanish team.

Team USA was back on top of the basketball world, and it was largely because of Kobe Bryant. Kobe's leadership helped the younger Dwyane Wade and LeBron James mature into better leaders for their respective teams.

Kobe Bryant never played basketball on his birthday. But in 2008, a day after his 30th birthday, Kobe delivered a present to himself by leading Team USA to the gold medal. So, on this day, what would've been Kobe Bryant's 44th birthday, we remember all the great memories Kobe has left for us throughout his basketball career and life.

For that, we say, Happy Birthday, Kobe.

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