5 career-defining moments for Kobe Bryant

Agence France-Presse
5 career-defining moments for Kobe Bryant
What are the critical moments of Kobe Bryant's illustrious NBA career?

LOS ANGELES, USA – Here are 5 key events in the career of NBA legend Kobe Bryant, who announced Sunday, November 29 he was retiring after this season, his 19th with the Los Angeles Lakers:

KOBE-SHAQ. Shaquille O'Neal smiles at teammate Kobe Bryant (R) Game 6 of the Western Conference Finals against the Sacramento Kings in May 2002. The Lakers defeated the Kings 106-102 to tie the best-of-7 series 3-3. File Photo by Lucy NICHOLSON/AFP

2000-2002: Bryant and center Shaquille O’Neal combine to spark the Los Angeles Lakers to 3 consecutive NBA titles. The Lakers won their first title since 1988 by defeating Indiana in the 2000 championship series, then downed Philadelphia in the 2001 final and swept New Jersey in 2002. Bryant became, at 23, the youngest player in NBA history to win 3 crowns.

2003-2004: Bryant was arrested after being accused of a sexual assault by a 19-year-old hotel employee in Colorado, where he was having a knee operation. Bryant admitted adultery but denied he forced the woman to have sex, the situation damaging his reputation. In 2004, the case was dropped by prosecutors after the accuser refused to testify. Bryant later apologized, saying he could see how there was miscommunication. A separate civil lawsuit between the two parties was settled but both sides refused to release details.

January 22, 2006: Bryant scored a career-high 81 points in a victory against the Toronto Raptors, a Lakers record and the second highest game total in NBA history to the 100-point game of Wilt Chamberlain in 1962.

August 2008 and 2012: Bryant helped the US Olympic basketball team capture gold at Beijing and London after the Americans stumbled to bronze in 2004 at Athens. Bryant and his star power was a major attraction in China and together with LeBron James he helped the “Redeem Team” restore US pride and then defend the crown at London.

LAST NBA TITLE. Kobe Bryant (R) holds the Larry O'Brien Championship trophy and the NBA MVP trophy after the Los Angeles Lakers defeated the Boston Celtics 83-79 to win their 16th NBA Championship in June 2010. File photo by MIKE NELSON/EPA

2009-2010: Bryant wins his fourth and fifth NBA crowns, leading the Lakers past the Orlando Magic in 5 games in 2009 and the Boston Celtics in a dramatic seventh-game showdown in 2010. – Rappler.com

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