Christian Petersen/Getty Images
Kobe Bryant celebrates his fifth championship.
Stats: 27.0 PPG, 5.4 RPG, 5.0 APG, 45.6% FG.
Bryant’s legacy as an all-time great was secure prior to the start of the 2009-10 regular season. He was the proud owner of four championship rings, an MVP trophy and an NBA Finals MVP trophy.
In addition, he had finally won a title without O’Neal, which proved that Jerry Buss made the right decision in keeping the superstar guard and trading away the big man. But for historical purposes, defeating the Boston Celtics would elevate his career to new heights.
The Celtics defeated the Lakers countless times during the 1960s and had done so as recently as June 2008.
The 2009-10 campaign would give Bryant an opportunity for vengeance.
Bryant’s offensive production didn’t stand out when compared to his other years in the league, but it was on par with his career averages.
Wade was spectacular that season with the Miami Heat and earned an All-NBA first-team spot alongside Bryant. Normally, this would be somewhat of an indictment for the Lakers’ all-time leading scorer.
It would signify that the gap between Bryant other shooting guards wasn’t quite wide.
Mind you, Wade was in his prime for the most part and playing the best two-year stretch of his career. Bryant, on the other hand, was 31 and playing just about on the same level as the 2006 NBA Finals MVP.
That year was one of the best of Bryant’s impressive resume. He was excellent form start to finish and closed off the season with a Game 7 victory over the Celtics for a championship.
At the conclusion of the game, the four-time All-Star Game MVP raced down the court and celebrated. It set the stage for the superstar to get on the scorer’s table with the confetti falling where he simply showed off his right hand before the crowd. The message was simple: five, as in five titles.
A fact he reminded everyone about in the ensuing postgame press conference.