This Day in Sneaker History // Kobe Bryant Drops 81 Points on the Raptors

The Lakers of the 2005-06 season were a tad rough. A 45-37 team, the road to redemption and the road to the playoffs were both long and rocky. With Shaq, gone Kobe carried the weight of the franchise’s success along with their failures. Midway through the season, the team was on the bubble but Kobe was heating up. A January road trip saw the Lakers lose two straight games to conference rivals with Kobe putting up totals of 51 and 37, respectively. Coming back home how would he respond?

The Lakers hosted the Raptors in what would be Kobe’s peak scoring performance: 81 points, the second most all-time only to Wilt Chamberlain’s famous 100 point night. Jumpers, free throws, dunks, you name it, everything fell. It all came together to in what would be Kobe’s first signature model from Nike, the Zoom Kobe I.

Could Kobe win a championship as the face of a franchise? Could Kobe sell sneakers with Nike? The answers eventually proved to be ‘yes’ and ‘yes.’ The ZK1 colorway he wore in the legendary game was unreleased at the time but later dropped in a limited release inspired by the performance. Since then Nike has put out a “Concord” colorway of just about every Kobe sig.

With retirement on the way, sneakerheads are hoping a proper retro run for the Black Mamba is also on the horizon. Where do these rank in the list of could-be Kobe kicks to come back? Let us know in the comments section.

Kobe Bryant in the Nike Zoom Kobe 1
Kobe Bryant in the Nike Zoom Kobe 1 (photo via Hoops Addict)
Kobe Bryant in the Nike Zoom Kobe 1 (photo by REUTERS/Chris Pizzello via The Score)
Kobe Bryant in the Nike Zoom Kobe 1 (photo by REUTERS/Chris Pizzello via The Score)
Kobe Bryant in the Nike Zoom Kobe 1
Kobe Bryant in the Nike Zoom Kobe 1 (photo by Noah Graham/Getty Images via Bleacher Report)

Lead image by Noah Graham via Getty Images

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