Kobe Bryant is one of the greatest to ever play the game of basketball and he was able to show how lethal he was on one spacial night. The Lakers were adjusting to life without Shaquille O’Neal and they still hadn’t found their identity. The Lakers missed the playoffs the previous year and the 2005-06 seemed to be headed in the same direction.
The Lakers played the Toronto Raptors on Sunday January 22, 2006. They were 22-19 and fighting to stay in playoff contention, but the Raptors started the game hot and took an early lead on the Lakers. The score was 63-49 at halftime and the Raptors were able to extend that lead to 18 points early in the third quarter.
By this point, it looked to be a Lakers loss waiting to happen, but Bryant was angered by the lopsided score and went on to score 55 points in the second half. Bryant would go on to score 81 total points, the second most in NBA history, only behind Wilt Chamberlain’s 100 point performance.
Bryant shot 28 for 46 from the field, including 7 for 13 beyond the arc, and 18 for 20 from the charity strike. Bryant was able to accomplish this unbelievable feat while wearing the Nike Zoom Kobe 1. The game was played on a Sunday, so the Lakers were wearing their white uniforms and Bryant picked a colorway that matched his uniform. The Zoom Kobe 1 was mostly white but had some purple by the sole and heel/ankle area and the swoosh was black.
The Nike Zoom Kobe 1 are one of the heavier shoes Kobe has ever released, but they became very popular with big men around the NBA. They had very good cushioning, which is one of the reasons they were so popular around the league. They protected the ankle very well and Bryant was able to make history in them.
The colorway was not officially released at the time, but Nike would release it later in order to commemorate Bryant’s 81 point performance. Bryant would exit the game with seconds left in the fourth quarter and got a standing ovation from the Staples Center crowd. The Nike Zoom Kobe 1 will forever be linked to one of the greatest individual performances in NBA history.