Quite a few notable things happened in 2009. The movie Avatar was released, Jersey Shore premiered, Kanye West interrupted Taylor Swift, and the Los Angeles Lakers won their 15th NBA championship. A decade has passed by so quickly...
The Lakers were unstoppable back in the 2008-2009 season, looking like a team on a mission as they finished with a record of 65-17, which was 11 games over the 2nd seed in the West. And as anyone who watched those teams knows, a big part of the Lakers’ success was due to Kobe Bryant. That season, Kobe won the NBA All-Star MVP award, was named First Team All-NBA and First Team All-Defense, and finished 2nd in the MVP race.
In the previous season, the Lakers made it to the NBA Finals, where they played the Boston Celtics. As we all know, they lost in that series, which not only broke all of our hearts, but Kobe’s as well. As we know, Kobe doesn’t forget these types of losses.
“I remember when we were losing, they played that Journey song and the whole arena started singing,” Bryant revealed to the L.A. Times in 2015. “I hated that song for two years. I listened to the song every single day just to remind me of that feeling. Same thing with the Dropkick Murphys — I listened to the Dropkick Murphys all the time just because I wanted to remember that feeling.”
In the 2009 playoffs, Kobe made sure that the results turned out differently.
In that postseason, Kobe averaged 30.2 points, 5.3 rebounds, 5.5 assists, 1.7 steals and 0.9 blocks per game. Throughout the highlights in this video, you’ll barely see Kobe smiling until the end. Kobe only had one thought on his mind, and that was to win his fourth NBA championship. Kobe had to match-up against defenders like Andrei Kirilenko, Ron Artest, Shane Battier, Dahntay Jones and Mickael Pietrus.
10 years later, the memories may have faded a little, and the perception of Bryant and that team is different, but it’s clear from rewatching that they definitely didn’t have an easy route to the NBA championship, going seven games against the Rockets and 6 games against the Nuggets. Still, that just makes remembering and re-telling this story even sweeter.