must be like scoring a double century in a one-day cricket match or taking all
ten wickets. Maybe it’s the equivalent of kicking 20 goals in an AFL game, or winning the final of
the Australian Open without losing a single game. Whatever the right
comparison, NBA superstar Kobe Bryant’s 81
points against the Toronto Raptors overnight is a freakish
Bryant was shocked by it. “To sit here and say I grasp what happened, that
would be lying,” he said.
Washington Post reports, it’s the second-highest personal score in NBA history – the highest being an
even more freakish 100-point game played by Wilt Chamberlain nearly 44 years
basketball was a different game back then. There was no three pointer, but
Chamberlain didn’t mind. At seven feet tall, he set up camp under basket and
fed the ball through with impunity.
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ability to score is no secret. This year, he’s scored more points per game than
any other player in the NBA (35.9 per game, 1,402 for the
season) and ranks number one
in scoring both field goals and free throws. He scored 62 points in a game last
December. By contrast, Boston Celtics player Paul Pierce, who is also one of
the NBA’s most prolific scorers,
compiled 89 points in four games last week, and was labelled one of the most
dangerous players in the League for doing so.
this occasion at least, Bryant’s ego also played its role. As Sports Illustrated commented: “Bryant … truly believes that it is better for him to take a fade
away 24-footer than for Kwame Brown to shoot an open 5-footer. And not just
occasionally. Every single time. Setting aside that he might be right, this is
still a remarkable mentality.”
basketball pundits are asking if Bryant can challenge the Chamberlain record
this season. In the year Chamberlain set the record, he finished with an
average of 50.9 points per game. Bryant won’t get close to that this year, but
to put it in context, if the season ended after Sunday night’s game, Bryant
would have the highest average since Michael Jordan finished with 37.1 points
per game nineteen years ago.
That’s lofty company indeed.