This year the Los Angeles Lakers play the Los Angeles Clippers on Christmas Day.
What can we expect from The Black Mamba seeing that this will be his NBA record 16th, and final, Christmas game? We can only hope he goes out guns blazing.
The Christmas Day tradition of superior basketball performances has been an integral part of the American sports watching experience since its advent. From Bernard King’s 60 point outburst in 1984 to the more recent exploits of LeBron James, great Christmas Day performances are held almost in the same high regard as playoff performances.
Additionally, Christmas games are often rivalrous in nature. The Knicks versus the Bulls back in the day, Lakers versus Heat ten years ago, and the Golden State Warriors matchup versus the Cleveland Cavaliers this year are all indicative of that.
Is there any wonder that Kobe Bryant is the all-time leader in games played on Christmas? No doubt, with as much inner fire and explosive athleticism as the Black Mamba was known to muster back in the day, his very best was on display more often than not.
Seemingly offended by those horrible orange Christmas uniforms, Bryant went dropped 34 on the New York Knicks back in 2012.
All Kobe Bryant was hearing around this time was ‘LeBron this’ and ‘LeBron that’, but was likely thinking ‘but Bron don’t know jack, cuz Bron can’t rap.. .’ and neither could Kobe, but that’s neither here nor there. But what he can do is use any perceived slight as motivational fuel. He would drop 35 pts 10 rebounds 8 assists in a 15-point loss to Cleveland.
This was when Steve Nash was in his heyday and had recently swiped a NBA MVP that should have been Bryant’s is basketball was the only deciding factor. Well, the Mamba always remembers! The Mamba never forgets! He let his shooting stroke do the talking on Christmas 2007 in the form of 38 pts 5 rebounds and 7 assists versus Phoenix.
This 2004 Christmas game was a true banger! Dwyane Wade was only in his second year in the NBA and was already nipping at Kobe’s heals, and Shaquille O’Neal bolted La La Land for South Beach. Their personal feud was still smoldering. So Kobe would punish D-Wade for his Diesel disdain to the tune of 42 points, 3 rebounds, and 6 assists versus Miami.