There is no doubt that Kobe Bryant is right in the argument for being the greatest scoring talent in the history of the NBA. But when looking at his resume and career, he is simply on Mt. Rushmore as a scorer. Bryant won 5 NBA championships in his career, adding in 2 Finals MVP awards and a regular-season MVP award. A top-two shooting guard of all time, The Black Mamba is also the most clutch player in NBA history outside of Michael Jordan. No player has made as many game-winners as Bryant, as evidenced by his collection of clutch shots. Outside of Magic Johnson, Bryant is known to be Mr. Laker because he had the most accomplishments for the iconic Los Angeles Lakers franchise.
Bryant was surely a once-in-a-lifetime player because he took what Michael Jordan did well and also ramped it up by being the best tough shot-maker of all time. Over his career, Bryant’s shooting percentages are solid, considering he was such a heavy usage player for the Lakers. Capturing 2 scoring titles normally means a player has to take a ton of shots, and Kobe certainly answered the bell on countless occasions. A shooting guard without any weaknesses on the offensive side of the floor, Bryant had shooting percentages of 44.7% FG, 32.9% 3-PT FG, and 83.7% FT.
No doubt, Bryant loved to score the ball and dominate the game on the offensive end. That is why it could be interesting to go deeper into Kobe’s career in terms of statistical achievements. Specifically, it is time to uncover his scoring resume to get an indication of how well he was able to accumulate stats better than almost everyone else. A bonafide superstar with 18 All-Star selections and 5 championships, here are Kobe Bryant’s scoring records of 40-point games, 50-point games, 60-point games, and the second-highest scoring performance of all time.
40-Point Games: 97
Scoring at least 40 points in an NBA game is no easy feat, but Kobe Bryant certainly made it look easy. In terms of scoring at least 40 points in a single game, Bryant ranks 3rd all-time with 122 games behind Wilt Chamberlain (271 games) and Michael Jordan (173 games). But with games between 40-49 points, Kobe has 97 performances over his legendary career. Of course, the run during the 2003 season is one that immediately jumps out with regards to 40-point performances.
Bryant had a streak where he scored at least 40 points in nine consecutive games from Feb. 6-23, 2003. Two of those games included at least 50 points scored, meaning 7 of them had between 40-49 points. At the time, Kobe ended up tying Michael Jordan for the fourth-longest such streak in NBA history. Only the great Wilt Chamberlain ever put together more 40-point games in a row than Kobe Bryant or Michael Jordan. That was certainly a record-breaking streak, and Kobe knew he had to turn it on to give the Lakers an impressive 7-2 record over those 9 games.
Kobe outperformed Jordan's nine-game streak with a 44.0 point per game average during his nine-game run. Over the streak, Kobe had two games with 50 or more points, which raised his average. During Kobe's streak, the Lakers went 7-2 (.778) and went on to finish the season with a record of 50-32. (.610). The first performance resulted in 46 points against the Knicks, where Kobe shot 17-27 from the field. The next 40-point performance came against the Denver Nuggets, as the shooting guard scored 42 points on 12-20 shooting.
Kobe continued, scoring 44 against the Spurs, 40 against the Knicks again, 40 against the Jazz, 40 against the Trail Blazers, and 41 against the SuperSonics. Kobe’s scoring run during those games began building the shooting guard’s case as one of the greatest perimeter scorers we have ever seen. The 2003 season was the year where we began to recognize Kobe as the most skilled and talented player in the game, and he began to grow out of Shaquille O’Neal’s shadow completely. With 97 games of scoring between 40-49 points in his career and 122 games of at 40+ points, it has to be mentioned that Kobe Bryant is a top-three scorer of all time, with only Michael Jordan and Wilt Chamberlain coming close to his records as a whole.
50-Point Games: 19
Kobe Bryant had 19 games where he scored between 50-59 points. The shooting guard obviously had higher-scoring games, including multiple 60-point games and an 81-point performance. But he was always capable of going off for a nice 50-piece multiple times in his career. Out of those 19 appearances, only 4 games resulted in the player having a negative plus/minus rating. Bryant scored 50 points on 6 occasions, shooting under 48% one time. Kobe had 4 games of 51 points, 3 games of 52 points, and 3 games of 53 points.
Bryant dropped 55 points against the Washington Wizards on March 28, 2003, on 15-29 from the field, which was good for 51.5% shooting. With a +21 rating, Bryant led the Lakers to a convincing 108-94 victory against the Wizards, who only benefited from a 23-point performance by Kobe’s idol, Michael Jordan. Obviously, this game broke news headlines because it was obvious that Bryant took the throne from the older Michael Jordan. This was one of the highlights of Kobe’s career because going off for an iconic scoring performance at the expense of the GOAT will have resonated with Kobe himself and the rest of the NBA Universe.
Kobe Bryant also had a 56-point game against the Memphis Grizzlies on January 14, 2002. The shooting guard went 21-34 from the floor, including 3-6 from three and 11-12 from the free-throw line. Bryant shot an incredible 61.8% from the floor, an indication of how dominant the shooting guard was during the game. With a +40 plus/minus rating, Bryant led the Lakers to a convincing 120-81 victory. It was a clear blowout, and Bryant was at the core of it. There was one more 50-point performance that Kobe had, which should be recognized.
During the iconic 2006 season, Kobe Bryant scored 58 points on December 29, 2006, against the Charlotte Bobcats. The shooting guard shot 22-45 from the floor, good for 48.9% shooting. Kobe also chipped in 5 rebounds, 4 assists, and 54 minutes played in a display that was good enough to lead the Lakers to a 133-124 victory. This ended up being the highest-scoring 50-point performance from Kobe Bryant, as he would have an incredible 5 60-point games as well.
60-Point Games: 5
Kobe Bryant is ranked 2nd all-time in 60-point games behind Wilt Chamberlain - who has a whopping 32 games of at least 60 points scored. Kobe has been known as a player to go off when he is in the zone, and each one of his 60-point performances was iconic. His first 60-point performance came against the Dallas Mavericks on December 20, 2005, when he outscored the entire Mavericks team through three quarters. Kobe posted 62 points on 18-31 from the field, including 22-25 from the stripe, to solidify a 112-90 victory. His second 60-point game came in the 06-07 season against the Portland Trail Blazers, when he dropped 65 points on March 16, 2007. Kobe shot 23-39 from the floor, including 8-12 from three, and also made 11 out of 12 free throws. Naturally, the Lakers ended up winning the game 116-111.
The next 60-point performance came against the Memphis Grizzlies, only 6 days later following the 65-point performance against the Portland Trail Blazers. The shooting guard posted 60 points on 20-37 from the field, including 3-7 from three and 17-18 from the free-throw line. The Lakers ended up winning the game 121-119, as Kobe became the first player at the time since MJ to score at least 50 points in three consecutive games. This was also the second 60-point game in three games by Bryant during the month of March 2007.
Great players always seem to enjoy playing at Madison Square Garden, and Kobe Bryant was one of them. The legendary shooting guard posted an incredible 61 points against the New York Knicks during the month of February 2009, going 19-31 from the field, including 3-6 from three and 20-20 from the stripe. Bryant simply dismantled the Knicks by himself, scoring almost half his team’s points and leading the Lakers to a 126-117 victory. It was becoming obvious that every time Kobe had historical performances, his Lakers teams would come out with a victory.
Finally, and probably most iconically, Kobe Bryant posted 60 points against the Utah Jazz in the final game of his career. The shooting guard knew the entire arena was packed to see him play, and he stole the show. The Lakers legend shot the ball an incredible 50 times, going 22-50 from the field and also nailing the game-winning shot. This was a virtuoso performance from the player we loved to watch, and as expected, the Lakers capped off the game with a victory and a signature “Mamba Out” resonates with fans until this day.
80-Point Games: 1
Kobe Bryant's 81 points in the modern NBA game shocked the world. Kobe was on a tear all season long for the Lakers, and the team desperately needed his offense. The team was inferior with the likes of Smush Parker and Kwame Brown in the starting lineup, so Bryant had to turn it up to full throttle every game. And that's what he did against the Toronto Raptors in 2006. Bryant scored 81 points in a 122-104 victory by making 28-46 field goals and 18-20 free throws. It was widely reported that the Raptors tried everything to stop the shooting guard during the game, including throwing multiple defenders at him and even double-teaming him. But it clearly did not work, as Bryant was hell-bent on winning the game by himself.
That performance helped Kobe pad his stats enough to end the year with an impressive average of 35.4 PPG, en route to his first of two straight scoring titles. Bryant’s ability to nail contested shots was a massive factor in his record-breaking performance, and it is still funny to this day to see Jalen Rose admit Kobe Bryant destroyed his former team. Bryant was simply unconscious during the game, as evidenced by his 7-13 shooting from three-point range. Bryant held a career average of 32.9% from deep, so he was not always the most efficient three-point shooter. But Bryant managing to nail three-pointers at over 50% was an indication that we might never see another perimeter player pull off a scoring performance like this again.