The Lakers of the 2005-06 season were not the Lakers of today. 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 franchises’ 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 were yes and yes. The colorway he wore 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 ever Kobe sig.
Who: Kobe Bryant
Shoe: Nike Zoom Kobe I
Event: Career High 81 Points vs. Toronto Raptors