Today in Sports History: December 20

In 2005, Kobe Bryant scored 62 points in three quarters against the Dallas Mavericks. Bryant single-handedly outscored the Mavericks, who had 61 points total. The crowd cheered “We want Kobe” in the fourth quarter but Kobe declined to go back in, telling assistant coach Brian Shaw he would have another night like this. He had his 81-point masterpiece against the Raptors later that season. 
Bryant was the 13th pick in the 1996 NBA draft, and he spent his entire 20-season career with the Los Angeles Lakers.  One of the greatest players to ever set foot on the court, Bryant backed up his competitive nature with his phenomenal work ethic and talent for the game. During his career, Bryant helped lead the Lakers to five NBA championships. In the 2009 NBA Finals, Bryant averaged 32.4 points, 7.4 assists, 5.6 rebounds, 1.4 steals and 1.4 blocks. Bryant earned NBA Finals MVP and helped the Lakers defeat the Orlando Magic 4-1. In 2010, the Lakers repeated as champions and Bryant was again the Finals MVP. It was the first time the Lakers defeated their rival Celtics in a Game 7 in the NBA Finals. Bryant’s other accolades include NBA MVP (2008), 15x All-NBA Team selections, 12x NBA All-Defensive Team selections, 2x NBA scoring champion, and 18x NBA All-Star. Bryant’s no.8 and 24 jerseys were retired by the Los Angeles Lakers.

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