Ranking All of Kobe Bryant's Buzzer Beaters and Game Winners
Hey Bleachers! Kobe Bryant has just turned 33 and in order to honor his great career, I have researched, analyzed and ranked each one of his game winners or buzzer beaters. During his long 15 season career we've seen it over and over again. Kobe just being...Kobe.
In his 15 seasons with the Los Angeles Lakers, Kobe has made 27 game winners in order for the Lakers to get that win. Three times he knocked down game winning free throws so that narrows the list down to his number, 24. The toughest part came when I tried to find all of his game winners. I could only find 21.
For the criteria, it will be ranked in a list from one to 10. The criteria goes as follows:
How difficult the shot was?
How much time was remaining?
What did it lead to?
In the case of a tie, the ranking will go further in who was the defender? For example, if Ron Artest was defending the game winner would be ranked higher than if Jose Calderon was defending.
Let's move on!
Kobe's Game Winning Free Throws
Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images
Honorable Mention: Kobe Shows He's the Closer for Team USA
Technically this isn't a game. However, it still deserves to be mentioned.
Just 14 seconds left and your team is down. The obvious choice for Team Blue? Kobe Bryant. He squares up over Tayshaun Prince and bam! Nothing but net and wins it for Team Blue. A hesitation, pump fake, then shot and all Kobe has to do is watch it sink in.
21. Lakers vs Bucks
In this game, the Lakers and Bucks squared off. They went into overtime and when they were down by one, they gave the ball to Kobe. He has the ball with 36 seconds left and Devin George sets a screen. It didn't do much so now Kobe is one on one with Keith Van Horn. Kobe takes time off the clock, drives in just inside the three point line, and makes the shot!
How difficult was the shot? Van Horn is all over Kobe when he takes the shot and it's pretty far too. 7/10.
How much time was left? 36 seconds were left. That's a lot of time in tight situations. 2/10
What did it result to? All the game really did was give Kobe and the Lakers another regular season win. 5/10
Overall: This is an easy shot for Kobe but it's really similar to other shot you will see. 14/30
20. Lakers vs Pacers
The quality is really bad. However, this game happened not too long ago. Kobe has the ball at about 13 seconds left in the game. He drives in and posts up against the smaller defender, Jarrett Jack. He does his post move and off the turn around jumper, nails the shot with only three seconds left.
How difficult was the shot? Not that difficult since Jack is not that good of a defender and is also undersized compared to Kobe. 6/10
How much time was left? Since the quality is bad, it's hard to tell. But I say around 13 seconds which is enough time to get off a good shot. 6/10
What did it result to? Just another victory for the Lakers! 5/10
Overall: This is a shot Kobe can get practically wherever he wants. Not that hard—for him. 17/30
19. Lakers vs Mavs
"He spins, he shoots, Lakers lead!" The exact words of the commentator and that's exactly what Kobe did. He had the ball with 14 seconds left and drove in, spun around, shot, and delivered. Even after two defenders committed to him.
How difficult was the shot? His spin move cleared him up and was able to shoot over Dirk Nowitzki. 8/10
How much time was left? When he made his move, there were 14 seconds left. That's a great amount of time to get the shot off. 4/10
What did it result to? The shot mainly signified a victory for the Lakers. 5/10
Overall: A great shot and Kobe just kept getting game winner after game winner. 17/30
18. Lakers @ Charlotte
Probably the worst quality out of all videos. Here's Kobe with four seconds left. He drives in, pump fakes and shoots over George Lynch who fell for that pump fake.
How difficult was the shot? After Kobe freed himself of Lynch, he shot the ball. But the fall away shot is a tough one to get especially that far out. 6/10
How much time was left? Four seconds when he got the ball and that was well off the three point line. 7/10
What was the result? A victory for the Lakers. 5/10
Overall: Another day in the life of Kobe Bryant. 18/30
17. Lakers @ Sonics
Skip to 13 seconds.
Lakers are going up against the Supersonics and in overtime, Kobe puts pressure on the Sonics. He's one on one with Jeff Green with nine seconds left. He makes his move by driving in and pulls up. Splash! Kobe's shot is good and the Sonics did not capitalize with four seconds left giving Los Angeles the win.
How difficult was the shot? Not that difficult. Kobe's been through worse. 6/10
How much time was left? Nine seconds when he got the ball. He made the shot after five seconds had passed. 6/10
What did it result to? He showed why he deserves the MVP award with this one and like most of the other slides, another win for the Lake show. 7/10
Overall: Definitely not the hardest shot in the world and when it comes to Kobe, he will show how easy it is. 18/30
16. Lakers @ Nets
Kobe folding his arms showing the world how good he is. That's what you can say about this shot. 13 seconds left in overtime and Kobe is dribbling up the court. Shaquille O'Neal sets a screen and O'Neal's defender guards Kobe. He drives in a gets fouled, throws up a shot, and delivers with the layup. A chance to seal the deal with the and one.
How difficult was the shot? Now that's hard. To even make that layup with three defenders all over is very difficult but he's Kobe and we're not. 9/10
How much time was left? 13 seconds is enough time to get a good, uncontested shot. However, Kobe made it with three defenders' hands in his face. 4/10
What was the result? Basically, Kobe showing how good he is. And getting that free throw. Other than that, just another win for the Lakers. 5/10
Overall: That was just his fifth game winning shot. Many more to come and folding his arms. 18/30
With three guys defending Kobe, this one wins the tie breaker between Hornets and Sonics.
15. Lakers @ Bobcats
Off an inbound pass, Kobe receives the ball up top with six seconds left. He hesitates, pump fakes and shoots, leaving nine-tenths of a second remaining for the Bobcats to get the win. Of course, they didn't win.
How difficult was the shot? When Kobe pumped, his defender, Keith Bogans, jumped up, giving Kobe no room to breathe. However, his fall away shot was good enough and made. 8/10
How much time? He had the ball with six seconds left. 7/10
What did it result in? Just another victory. 5/10
Overall: Kobe showed why he's the best closer in the NBA. He still has many more to come. 20/30
14. Lakers @ Nuggets
So George has the ball and for some odd reason Kwame Brown gets the ball in the clutch. He does a post up move, misses, rebounds the ball, passes it to Kobe and watches him sink the ball over two defenders.
How difficult was the shot? Two players were on him including a Seven foot center. 8/10
How much time was left? Four seconds left when he got the ball from Brown. 7/10
What did it result to? A win in Overtime! 5/10
Overall: Kwame wanted to be the hero but we know that wasn't going to happen. 20/30
13. Lakers vs Suns
The Suns are up by one and Kobe has the ball. Being defended by Jason Kidd, he knows it's going to be tough to leave him. Kidd's all over him and once Kobe drives in after a crossover, another defender comes and tries to block the shot. Of course, Kobe makes.
How difficult was the shot? He had to use extra hang time and two guys were trying to block him. 8/10
How much time was left? Only 14 seconds. That's a good amount of time in clutch situations. 4/10
What did it result to? A Game Two victory and well, you know what happened after they advanced. 8/10
Overall: Kobe gave the Lakers a victory in the playoffs against the Suns. Showing what was going to happen six years later except not advancing that time. 20/30
12. Lakers @ Memphis
With 3.3 seconds left, the inbound pass goes to Kobe and he catches it above the three point line. He takes one step in and shoots over Shane Battier. He makes the shot and breaks the heart of Grizzlies' followers.
How difficult was the shot? Battier is a great defender. And the tough shot makes Kobe look even better. 8/10
How much time was left? 3.3 seconds. So little time! 7/10
What did it result to? A win for the Lakers. 5/10
Overall: With this game winner, he reached double-digits for his career. 20/30
11. Lakers vs Cavs
A game that went back and forth, Kobe hit three clutch shots after having a rocky start. When the time comes, 19 seconds are left and Kobe is one-on-one with LeBron James. He drives in, shoots over James and Zydrunas Ilgauskis and makes the shot! LeBron got fouled, missed one free throw, Drew Gooden got the rebound, and LeBron yet again misses the potential game winner.
How difficult was the shot? Really difficult. He had to shoot over both James and seven-footer, Ilgauskis. 8/10
How much time was left? 15 seconds when he had the ball. 4/10
What was the result? Showing LeBron who's the man and getting the win for the Lakers. 8/10
Overall: Kobe showed what he can do even with an injury. 20/30
Battier and James are both great defenders getting above the Suns, Nuggets, and Bobcats.
10. Lakers @ Bucks
The second buzzer beater for Kobe last season. This one was probably the easiest one to accomplish given the fact that his defender, Charlie Bell, isn't that great. Also, Kobe missed the potential game winner in regulation in the exact same spot. This time he didn't miss or else the Lakers would have lost.
How difficult was the shot? It wasn't too hard, but the turnaround, post-up jumper isn't the easiest thing in the world. 7/10
How much time was left? When he got the pass from Lamar Odom, there were 5.4 seconds left giving Kobe not much time to run up the court and get a good shot off. Kobe thought otherwise and got a brilliant shot off. 7/10
What was the result? The second buzzer in a month! 7/10
Overall: This was just the second of six overall in a season. 21/30
9. Lakers @ Grizzlies
Coming back from an injury you'd think Kobe would be a little rusty. He proved us wrong and got to work. With 8.8 seconds left, the Lakers were down two. Ron Artest passes it to Pau Gasol who then passes it to Odom. Off a Gasol screen, Kobe goes to the three-point arc and shoots it while Rudy Gay is running towards him. Great catch and shoot play by Kobe!
How difficult was the shot? Gay was running at full speed and looked as if Kobe were to get blocked by him. But that wasn't the case and Kobe nailed the shot. 8/10
How much time was left? When Kobe received the pass from Odom, there was 6.4 seconds left. All you could really do that open with that amount of time is catch and shoot. 6/10
What was the result? Lakers won and Kobe yet again showed how great he is. 7/10
Overall: Kobe bailed the Lakers out another time. 21/30
Gay is a much better defender than Bell so he wins this tiebreaker.
8. Lakers vs Toronto
Artest passes the ball to Gasol who receives it at the top of the three point line. He fake passes to Odom and then does an actual pass to Kobe. He is defended by Antoine Wright and goes into the triple threat, swings through and then Andrea Bargnani commits to Kobe as well who just shoots over them off a fadeaway jumper!
How difficult was the shot? From an angle, he shot over Bargnani and Wright who both hands were in his face. 9/10
How much time was left? Only seven seconds when got the ball from Pau. 6/10
What was the result? Kobe's sixth game winner of the season and tying the season series with the Raptors. In Canada, he missed the game winning three of a bad pass from Luke Walton. He redeemed himself from that loss. 6/10
Overall: Kobe's last game winner of the season. But obviously not his best! 21/30
Two defenders are better than Gay's defense from the previous slide.
7. Lakers vs Kings
Sasha Vujacic inbounds the ball to Gasol with only 4.1 seconds left. He passes to Kobe who freed himself up, catches the ball, shoots a three, and makes.
How difficult was the shot? He was left wide open giving Kobe an easy shot for the win. 6/10
How much time was left? When Kobe caught the ball with one hand, he had one second to shoot the ball. He almost stepped out of bounds! He still made the shot though. 9/10
What was the result? This victory resulted in Kobe getting his third buzzer beater and the Lakers continuing their perfect Overtime record. 7/10
Overall: Lakers should a lot of resiliency in this game and Kobe kept breaking teams' hearts. 22/30
6. Lakers @ Celtics
Kobe has the ball one on one with Ray Allen. Kobe drives in, passes to Andrew Bynum who gives the ball directly back to Kobe. He gets the ball on top of the three point arc, drives just above the free throw line, then Allen stops him. Kobe leans into him, goes back, and fades away, hitting the shot.
How difficult was it? Allen was all over him and had to perform a tough fadeaway shot. 8/10
How much time was left? 11.5 seconds when Kobe got the ball back from Bynum. 5/10
What was the result? Beats the Celtics on their home floor and another game winner for Kobe. 9/10
Overall: This game was big. They came back down from 11 and Kobe brought the victory! 24/30
5. Lakers vs Spurs
Go to 5:12
There's 27 seconds left and Kobe has the ball. Kobe drives in, loses the handle, and the ball goes to Derek Fisher. He drives in and misses his shot. Kobe loses his defender and rebounds the ball with his left hand. Kobe then puts the ball into the basket and Lakers end up winning the game.
How difficult was the shot? He had to shoot over David Robinson and it came off an offensive rebound. 8/10
How much time was left? When he got the board, only six seconds were left. 7/10
What was the result? Winning Game 4 of the Western Conference Semi-Finals. 9/10
Overall: With this Kobe sealed the victory and they got their three-peat. 24/30
4. Lakers vs Nuggets
Kobe gets the ball after an inbound pass with 2.5 seconds left. He's at the top of the three-point line, dribbles inside, pump fakes and sends Jon Barry flying past him. He then made the shot.
How difficult was the shot? Had to pump fake and shoot in so little time. He made the fall away shot just inside the three point line. 7/10
How much time was left? 2.5 seconds and he actually went for the shot with 0.6 seconds left. 9/10
What did it result to? Forget what happened after the game. This game was after his trial for the rape accusations were dismissed! What a way to end his day! 9/10
Overall: Like Stu Lantz said, "Kobe loves buzzer beaters!" In fact he does. 25/30
3. Lakers vs Suns
Probably the most memorable game winner from Kobe, Smush Parker stole the ball from Steve Nash, passed it the George, who without hesitation passed it to Kobe, who then drives in and puts the shot in. Then Luke Walton forced a jump ball with Nash and wins. Kobe gets the ball, drives in, pulls up, and sinks the game winning shot!
How difficult was the shot? Really difficult when you have a defensive minded player like Raja Bell on you and then another defender came to try to contest the shot. He also made the fade-away jumper. 10/10
How much time was left? When Kobe got the ball from the jump ball, he had five seconds to run up the court and make the shot or else they would lose. 8/10
What was the result? The Lakers went up 3-1 in the series. If they had won the series, this would have been ranked higher. 8/10
Overall: Like I said, probably the most memorable game winner came from a round loss. 26/30
2. Lakers vs Heat
Of course you remember this one! Artest inbounds the ball into Kobe's hands. He dribbles to the center of the three point line. And with an off balance shot, he nails the banker!
How difficult was the shot? Dwayne Wade is no slouch on defense. However, Kobe got the better of him and embarrassed D-Wade with that amazing shot. 10/10
How much time was left? 3.2 seconds. He got a real uncomfortable shot. 8/10
What was the result? Lakers win and continue their eight game winning streak. Plus this begins the chain of five more game winners. 9/10
Overall: D-Wade played great defense. But "I'd take great offense versus great defense any day!" 27/30
1. Lakers @ Portland
A surprise? I think not! First of all, Kobe tied the game with a horrible looking three point shot forcing overtime. In the second overtime, one second is left. Gary Payton passes the ball to Kobe. He receives the ball above the three-point arc and hits a fall-away, rainbow, three-point shot!
How difficult was the shot? Extremely difficult. He had to turn his body around after the catch. The shoot over two defenders.10/10
How much time was left? One second. That's all it came down to. 10/10
What was the result? The Lakers winning the Pacific Division championship! That small lead is all it took. 10/10
Overall: Clearly, the best buzzer beater in his career. 30/30
Let me know what you guys thought! Thanks for reading!