Kobe Bryant is now 34 years of age and it’s no secret that his game has taken a step back in the athletic department. Like Michael Jordan, he has beautifully adjusted his offensive skill to make up for the loss of athleticism that age has taken away from him.
Like many other aspects of Kobe Bryant’s historic NBA career, many fans seem to forget that Kobe Bryant used to jump through the roof, which he still shows he capable of doing at times. Many current and retired NBA players will tell you that Kobe driving down the lane towards you is no joking matter.
There are a countless number of plays where Bryant absolutely embarrassed other NBA players with huge posterizing dunks. Many of the biggest players in the game have been made into a Kobe Bryant poster at least once in their career. Here is my top 5 posterizing dunks from Kobe.
5. LeBron James
This dunk occurred in the 2011 All-Star game where Kobe won MVP honors. Keep in mind that this was just last year, which exemplifies the physical ability that Kobe can still show at times.
An alley-oop from Lebron was broken up, as the ball landed in Kobe’s hands for a fast break. We’ve all grown used to LeBron chasing someone from behind and blocking their shot on a fast break and it seemed as if the same thing was about to happen to Kobe.
Bryant refused to let that happen as he threw it down for the slam dunk causing a confused LeBron to look around for a ball he thought he blocked. Kobe then tapped LeBron on the backside sarcastically letting him know that he put up a good effort. To make what just happened even better, Kobe nailed a 3 pointer on the very next possession.
Funny quote: “What I like right here is the Black Mamba staring down his prey. ‘Okay, you wanna come get this? I’ve got something for you KING’….”
4. Kevin Garnett and Rasho Nesterovic
This spectacular dunk occurred during Game 5 of the 2003 playoffs. With a strained shoulder, Kobe dribbled down the baseline around Garnett, slamming down a windmill while meeting Nesterovic at the basket.
The dunk was so sick that it caused Kobe to fall down on the court and appeared to have hurt his already injured shoulder. Both defenders were 7 feet tall, but that didn’t stop Kobe from nailing this huge dunk.
There’s always a greater appreciation for plays like this, being that this was from the “Kobe needed Shaq” era. It’s just another prime example of the great plays that Kobe made during this time that proves he was just as important as any player on the Laker roster was.
3. Steve Nash
It sucks that Los Angeles Laker, Steve Nash has to be on this list, but he obviously wasn’t always a Laker. In fact, he was a huge enemy. This was during the 2006 playoffs, as Kobe led a very week Laker roster against the Phoenix Suns.
This was during a season when many NBA fans felt that Kobe was screwed out of the MVP award. He had the 81 point game, averaged 43.4 points per game for the month of January, recored 27 40-point games, and won the scoring title averaging an amazing 35.4 points per game all during this season. Even after all of this, Steve Nash ended up winning the MVP and it angered many Laker fans.
Because of this, it’s not hard to imagine the amazing feeling that Laker fans felt while watching Kobe dunk over the NBA’s MVP. It also seemed as if Kobe felt the same exact way, as he held onto the rim longer than usual and gave a glare into the Phoenix crowd. He might as well had yelled, “Who’s the MVP!?”
2. Yao Ming
A 7 ft 6 inch Yao Ming entered the NBA with much hype surrounding him. He was the new international sensation and many people believed that he would dominate the NBA with his huge size and talent.
Well, this giant of a man did not scare Kobe at all. Bryant dribbled around a pick from Rick Fox and met the towering Yao Ming at the basket. The play ended with Yao Ming on a poster, as Kobe Bryant welcomed him to the NBA.
1. Dwight Howard
Wow! Another Laker on the list? It sucks that I have to do this to my man D12, but come on. It was obvious that this dunk would be number 1.
With his tongue hanging out like Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant drove down the lane and gave Dwight Howard a bit more than just a facial. The dunk was absolutely sick and Howard was obviously embarrassed. Again, Kobe was welcoming another dominant center to the NBA.
As embarrassing as it was, this dunk may have turned Dwight into the monster he needed to be. Since then, Howard has won Defensive Player of the Year 3 times and is widely known as a dominating force at the rim. You hardly ever see guys driving down the lane and finishing on D12 (just ask LeBron).
Dwight took the dunk on the chin (no pun intended) and openly admitted that whenever he sees Kobe come down the lane, he gets flashbacks and hopes that it’ll never happen again. Well, Dwight won’t have to worry about that unless Kobe does what he did to Shaq at practice.