The Los Angeles Lakers legend has had more than a few clutch shots and game-winners throughout his career, which made the task of narrowing it down to eight very challenging. We apologize in advance for not including some of Bryant's other amazing buzzer-beaters (there were just so many!), but at the end of the day, we just could not afford to not include these eight game-winners on our list here today.
8. December 16, 2009 (at Milwaukee Bucks)
We start off the list with one of our personal favorites. This one is special because Bryant showed off his trademark turnaround fade-away shot here. It was also during overtime in a feisty contest against the Milwaukee Bucks, but even though everybody knew that the ball was going to Kobe in the final play, the Bucks still could not stop the Black Mamba.
7. January 31, 2010 (at Boston Celtics)
The Boston Celtics were one of the biggest thorns to the side of Kobe and the Lakers in the late 2000's. This is exactly why this game-winner — in Boston's home floor no less — was so satisfying for Bryant. Ray Allen was all over him, but it did not matter one bit. Check out Kobe's nonchalant facial expression in the aftermath of the shot. “I do this.”
6. December 19, 2003 (at Denver Nuggets)
A few days before Christmas in 2003, Bryant gave the Lakers faithful an early Christmas present with this beauty. There were 2.5 seconds remaining in the clock with the score tied. Kobe received the ball from the inbound and proceeded to completely fake out his defender for an open shot at the top of the key.
5. February 12, 2012 (at Toronto Raptors)
What makes this one so impressive is the series of clutch plays Bryant performed towards the end of the ballgame. The fade-away buzzer-beater was extremely impressive, but equally amazing was Bryant's heroics that led up to that opportunity to win the game. Kobe sunk a trey with less than a minute remaining to bring LA to within one point. He then followed it up with a steal on the other end, which led to a fastbreak assist to Metta World Peace.
The Raptors managed to regain a one-point lead, which set the stage for Kobe's jaw-dropping game-winner. Check out the highlights below to see a prime example of Bryant in the clutch.
4. May 12, 2002 (at San Antonio Spurs)
This was not a typical Kobe Bryant buzzer-beater. He actually had a chance to take a rather more familiar game-winning attempt, but he lost the ball as he was about to drive to the rim. The ball fell to Derek Fisher who had to throw up a contested jumper with just two seconds remaining on the shot clock. Bryant really wanted to make amends for his near turnover, so he skied for the rebound on a full extension, and he floated in the winner against San Antonio Spurs legendary big man David Robinson.
3. December 4, 2009 (vs. Miami Heat)
The degree of difficult of this game-winner is amazing. The Miami Heat were up by two with a little over three second remaining. Bryant took the inbound pass, and the rest, as they say, was history.
To make it even sweeter, Miami Heat legend Dwyane Wade was the one covering Kobe as he took off for a running, off-balanced three-point attempt to win the game. Fortunately for him, the bank was open on that day.
2. April 30, 2006 (vs. Phoenix Suns)
Kobe's game-winner against the Phoenix Suns in the first round of the 2006 Playoffs is most remembered for his celebration right after taking the victory. Bryant pulled the sleeve of his jersey aside as an indication of his heart. It resulted in one of the most iconic Kobe moments of all time.
Bryant actually beat the buzzer twice. He sent the game to overtime with a game-tying layup and then won it in overtime with an astounding fade-away jumper from the free-throw line. Amazing.
1. April 14, 2004 (at Portland Trail Blazers)
This has got to take the cake for Kobe's best game-winner ever. What makes this even amazing is that he did it twice on the same night.
Bryant came up with a miraculous game-tying three-pointer at the end of regulation with the defense of the “Kobe stopper” himself, Ruben Patterson. The probability of him making such a difficult shot was so slim that when it actually went in, it seemed as though the hearts of the Blazers collectively fell to the floor.
That was not the end of it, though. This game went into double overtime, and with the Blazers up two with just one second to go, Kobe Bryant happened.