Happy 38th Birthday to Kobe Bryant!
The retired, five-time NBA champion might have moved on from hoops, having unveiled a $100 million venture capital fund Monday, but Los Angeles wants to thank the icon for all he did for the city during his 20 years with the Lakers.
That's precisely why LA is honoring the Black Mamba with his own "Kobe Bryant Day" on Wednesday (August 24). The date — 8/24 — breaks down to the two numbers (8 and 24) that Bryant wore during his Hall of Fame-bound career.
While the city will surely relive some of Kobe's greatest feats tomorrow, we decided to beat them to the punch.
So join BET.com as we look back on some of Kobe Bryant's greatest moments.
Versus Michael Jordan
At just 19, Kobe got to go up against his idol Michael Jordan in the 1998 NBA All-Star Game. And he more than held his own against the GOAT. But by the time they went head-to-head in the 2003 All-Star Game, Kobe was ready to take over the league...and he did.
After three years of growing pains, Kobe and Shaquille O'Neal managed to put it all together to win their first NBA title in 2000. And just like that, a new NBA dynasty laid its groundwork.
Back to Back
After a classic Game 1 loss to Allen Iverson and the Philadelphia 76ers, A.I. didn't have The Answer on how to stop Kobe and Shaq from going back-to-back.
A sweep of the then-New Jersey Nets in the 2002 NBA Finals gave the Lakers a three-peat, solidifying their dynasty.
Kobe's 81 points against the Toronto Raptors in January 2006 went down as the second-highest point total by an individual player, only second to Wilt Chamberlain's 100-point game. Phenomenal!
First and Only MVP
A five-time NBA champion and 18-time All-Star, it's crazy to think that the Black Mamba only has one league MVP to his name.
What did he do in that 2007-08 season to win it? Average 28.3 points, 6.3 rebounds and 5.4 assists per game, leading the Lakers to a 57-win season and trip to the NBA Finals.
You didn't think Kobe could lead the Lakers to a ring without Shaq, huh? Well, the Black Mamba proved you wrong. That's what greatness does.
Back to Back Without Shaq
Two straight NBA titles (2009-2010) without Shaq only pushed Kobe's legend status to another level.
Who drops 60 points in the final game of their legendary career? Kobe Bryant. That's who.
BET Sports News — Get the latest news and information about African-Americans in sports, including weekly recaps, celebrity news and photos of your favorite Black athletes.
(Photo: Jason Miller/Getty Images)