Kobe Bryant Day: Remembering Game 7 of the 2010 Lakers-Celtics Finals


In honor of Kobe Bryant Day, we remember Game 7 of the 2010 NBA Finals

The Los Angeles Lakers have won 16 championships in their history, most of which I couldn’t watch because I wasn’t alive yet. However, when they started winning in the early 2000’s, that’s when my attention to Kobe Bryant and the Purple and Gold started reaching its peak.

I’ve seen so many games, wins and losses, but none will ever be as important to me as when the Lakers won the championship over the Boston Celtics six years ago. And in honor of Kobe Bryant Day, I’d like to reminisce on where I was when Bryant won his fifth NBA title, in turn beating the rival that pummeled them just two years prior.

The date was June 17, 2010. A couple of days earlier, the Lakers had blown out the Celtics at Staples Center, tying the seven-game series at 3-3 and setting up a historic Game 7 between two teams that arguably have the biggest rivalry in sports.

I remember thinking that I wanted — no, needed — to be in the stands that night. I searched feverishly through Craigslist to see if anyone was selling a ticket, even though I knew it would be nearly impossible to obtain one. Lo and behold, someone was selling a single nosebleed ticket that costed upwards of $500, which I almost actually almost bought but eventually decided not to.

Instead, my parents hosted a Game 7 viewing party at their house and looking back, I wouldn’t have had it any other way.

Now, as most remember, the game wasn’t very pretty to begin with, especially for Bryant. He started 2-of-11 from the field, continually forcing shots as he tried to will his team to a Game 7 victory.

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I remember being on pins and needles every second of the game. The Lakers started with a 3-pointer from Derrick Fisher, his first of the series but the offense struggled, and early in the third quarter, the Lakers were down 13 to Boston when things started to look bleak.

With each possession, I remembering fearing that the Lakers weren’t going to pull it off. Bryant was playing poorly, and he was supposed to be the savior of the team.

However, one of the moments I remember most was in the fourth quarter. Lamar Odom missed a 3-pointer, and Gasol tipped the offensive rebound out to Bryant who bobbled it right to Ray Allen subsequently having to sprint back to prevent a layup. Bryant tried to get in position to take a charge, but was called for blocking instead.

As Bryant sat on the floor after the call, the look on face is one I’ll always remember. He was frustrated, tired, almost in disbelief that he dropped that ball. It was a microcosm of just how tough the game had been for him at that point.

But then, just a few minutes later, redemption came for Bryant as he hit one of the most important shots of his career. With the Lakers only up by two, he caught the ball on the right side of the floor, ripped though Allen, dribbled once and pulled up for a clutch jumper. After knocking it down, the whole den area where we were all watching the game erupted in cheers. Bryant finally hit a clutch shot, like we all hoped and expected he would.

Late in the game, almost as if to put an exclamation point on the game, Kobe drove through the lane and tried to hammer a dunk in all of Boston’s face and my heart almost stopped. I was so upset he was fouled and had to shoot free throws because if he would’ve converted that dunk, I would probably still be screaming at the top of my lungs, six years later.

The moment the final horn sounded and we watched Bryant running in the backcourt, raising his right hand as his teammates converged around him, the entire room was in a frenzy. I immediately hugged those watching and jumped up and down for a few seconds, screaming and cheering. One by one, each person in my den hugged those closest to them, as if we had just won the NBA championship. The mood in the room was one of great elation and accomplishment.

Next: Kobe Bryant Day: Remembering Kobe's Achilles Game

Thinking back, if I would’ve bought that ticket from Craigslist, I would have not had the opportunity to experience my favorite Bryant moment with my loved ones, making it truly indicative of that famous Christopher McCandless quote: “Happiness only real when shared.” And for that, I #ThankYouKobe