Kobe Bryant is one of the greatest players in NBA history, hands down.
But even a legend like Kobe can stink up the joint every once in a while. Here are the five worst games of Kobe Bryant’s career.
#5) December 20, 2004 vs. Memphis Grizzlies
Kobe’s Stats: 11 PTS, 6 REB, 8 AST, 4 TO, 2-16 FG
The Grizz had lost 12 straight road games against the Lakers, but then this happened. Kobe missed 14 of 16 shots in the game as Los Angeles mustered only nine points in the fourth quarter of an 82-72 loss. “They just kept me out on the perimeter. Most of my shots were bail-out shots with the clock winding down, or shots with a hand in my face,” explained Kobe.
#4) March 18, 2012 vs. Utah Jazz
Kobe’s Stats: 15 PTS, 6 REB, 4 AST, 7 TO, 3-20 FG
This was a matchup Kobe should have dominated with the Lakers facing a Jazz shooting guard combo of C.J. Miles and rookie Alec Burks, but instead he put up one of the worst games of his career, missing 17 of 20 shots and committing seven turnovers as Los Angeles lost to Utah 103-99. After the game Kobe said, “You have nights like that every now and then. I couldn’t make a shot.” At least Bryant gets points for being honest.
#3) May 6, 2006 vs. Phoenix Suns – Playoff Game
Kobe’s Stats: 24 PTS, 4 REB, 1 AST, 3 TO, 8-16 FG
Bryant’s stats were fine in this one, but this was the playoff game where Kobe allegedly quit on his team. The Lakers had squandered a 3-1 series lead against the Suns. In Game 7 Phoenix led by 17 at the end of the first quarter and 25 at the end of the third. Kobe attempted just three shots in the second half and seemingly went out of his way to show how poor his supporting cast was, regularly deferring to fellow starters Luke Walton, Kwame Brown, and Smush Parker. (In Kobe’s defense, read those three names again.) “If we were going to get back in this type of game, we have to have everybody contributing,” said Kobe. And no, they didn’t contribute.
#2) November 29, 2005 vs. San Antonio Spurs
Kobe’s Stats: 25 PTS, 4 REB, 0 AST, 3 TO, 9-33 FG
Any time you miss 24 shots with zero assists and your team loses by six to one of the league’s best teams, you’re making this type of list. But then again, Kobe’s fellow starters that day included Smush Parker, Chris Mihm, and Brian Cook, so it’s unclear exactly who Bryant was supposed to pass to while facing Tim Duncan & Co.
#1) June 16, 2000 at Indiana Pacers – NBA Finals
Kobe’s Stats: 8 PTS, 5 REB, 3 AST, 0 TO, 4-20 FG
Yes, it was the NBA Finals, but no, the outcome was never really in doubt. The Lakers led the Pacers 3-1 heading into Game 5 when Kobe and nearly all of his teammates decided to take the night off. Bryant missed 16 of 20 shots and didn’t attempt a free throw. The Lakers juggernaut lost in embarrassing fashion 120-87, then clinched the title at home three days later, thanks in large part to Kobe’s 26 points, 10 rebounds, and four assists.