Kobe Bryant has officially watched Kobe Bryant history.
Those 81 points still stand as the second-most points scored in a single game today, behind Wilt Chamberlain's 100.
That night in question was one that saw Bryant go 28-of-46 from the field, 7-of-13 from beyond the arc and 18-of-20 from the foul line. He scored 26 points in the first half and followed that up with a 55-point second-half performance.
And yet, while many paint Kobe as a self-serving, egotistical tyrant, he was, is and always will be about the win. Thus, it should come as no surprise he has never watched himself score his way into the record books.
On the seventh anniversary of his 81-point performance, Bryant watched (for the first time) as he torched the Raptors 81 ways toward the weekend. And fortunately for us, he tweeted throughout.
I can't believe I've never watched this game till now— Kobe Bryant (@kobebryant) January 22, 2013
Since this is Kobe we're talking about, he wasted no time criticizing Toronto's defense.
After my first bucket I realized their rotations weren't sharp or early— Kobe Bryant (@kobebryant) January 22, 2013
As I myself re-watched him make history, I can't help but concur. The Raptors' zone defense was so awful that Smush Parker could have broken it down. Oh wait, he did.
But I digress. To be fair, though, so did Kobe, except his was for a good reason.
It turns out that his escapade against Toronto was the one and only game his grandmother attended since he turned pro.
This game was the 1st and only game my grandma has seen me play as a pro, On my late grandfather's bday no less #countonfamily— Kobe Bryant (@kobebryant) January 22, 2013
That's pretty crazy, and the fact that it was his late grandfather's birthday can't help but give you chills.
I am left wondering, however, if perhaps his grandma should attend some more games. Maybe then the Lakers would make the playoffs for sure.
Or maybe he should change his diet.
Prior to his 81-point outburst, he was the type of player who would eat a pepperoni pizza before games.
Youthful metabolism!! I'm fresh of pepperoni pizza and grape soda! #countonkobe— Kobe Bryant (@kobebryant) January 22, 2013
I understand he's older, but if it could work once, it could work again, right?
Speaking of age, the 34-year-old Bryant's memory might be failing him. Leading into the second half, he couldn't seem to fathom how he actually dropped 81 by its end.
In case you've already forgotten, Kobe, yes, you did score 81 points that night. And it was awesome.
But was it awesome enough?
Bryant seems to think he could have scored more. Like break-Chamberlain's-record-of-100 more.
Watching the game now, the easy shots I missed, I could of had 100 pts! #countonkobe— Kobe Bryant (@kobebryant) January 22, 2013
Perhaps he could have scored more than 81 if he would have passed less. Although, was that even possible? The Mamba openly admitted at the midway point of the third quarter that he had had no intention of passing.
Down 14, I'm heating up...at this point I wouldn't pass a kidney stone #countonkobe— Kobe Bryant (@kobebryant) January 22, 2013
Could we really blame him, though? I mean, not only did he wind up scoring 81, but both Kwame Brown and Smushy Smush were in that lineup of his. I wouldn't pass the ball, either, if I didn't have to.
Nor would I attempt to diminish his accomplishment with a Brian Scalabrine joke. Some poor soul did and Kobe Matt Bonnered him.
If we were to make any jokes here, something pertaining to Chris Bosh's dumbstruck look after every bucket Bryant made in the second half would have been more appropriate.
Nothing is more relevant than winning, though. Just ask Kobe, who still seemed angry that it took he and the Lakers so long to get the lead.
Finally took the lead— Kobe Bryant (@kobebryant) January 22, 2013
Can't say I'm surprised, obviously. The dude's a perfectionist. But you'd think he'd give the 27-year-old version of himself a break, right? I mean, he was hopped up on pepperoni pizza and grape soda, after all.
Of course, that's no excuse. Not for Bryant. The same Bryant who received a technical early in the fourth quarter of that game after a no-call.
At that point, even if he tried (he didn't), he wouldn't have been able to hide his frustration. Not unlike this season.
The look of frustration has become all too familiar lately #countonkobe— Kobe Bryant (@kobebryant) January 22, 2013
And just like this season, this frustration Bryant speaks of wasn't planned, nor did he feed into it. According to him, it just exists, taking on a mind of its own and, subsequently, taking over the game.
I think we could all attest to that. Once Kobe gets his angry on, there's no turning back.
Just ask Mike Brown.
Or even Jeremy Lin.
There are countless victims who have borne witness to Kobe's focus, which seems to only increase with anger. And, according to the Mamba himself, apparently silence as well.
.@mrnbaamazing I listened to the sounds of silence— Kobe Bryant (@kobebryant) January 22, 2013
I don't know about you, but I could just picture Bryant sitting by his locker in dead silence, staring at his jersey and thinking, "I'm going for at least 50 tonight."
I could also see him attempting to prove a sarcastic teammate wrong, which he did.
Then-teammate Lamar Odom playfully taunted Bryant, claiming the Mamba couldn't hit 60. And then 70.
Part of me believes that Odom was in no way challenging Kobe. All of me does believe, though, that Kobe (to himself, of course) said, "Challenge accepted," and then delivered.
Bryant also delivered a timely Luke Walton joke in the fourth quarter as well.
Luke, the only white boy with a jerry curl #countonkobe— Kobe Bryant (@kobebryant) January 22, 2013
Not bad, Kobe, but I would have poked fun at the money he got paid for that ugly jumper of his.
With two minutes left in the game, though, the time for jokes, even seven years later, isn't now.
It is time, however, to wonder what Phil Jackson was thinking during Kobe's offensive barrage.
I wonder what Phil was thinking #countonkobe— Kobe Bryant (@kobebryant) January 22, 2013
Personally, I'd rather know what Raptors coach Sam Mitchell was thinking, but whatever. What say you, Phil?
Luckily, we don't have to wonder what Bryant himself was thinking about. Obviously, he was regretting not getting a fresh haircut before his historic game.
I knew I should have got a fresh hair cut for this game #countonkobe— Kobe Bryant (@kobebryant) January 22, 2013
I thought the hair looked fine, but I could have done with more of him biting his jersey. Just saying.
Don't think for a minute that hairdos were the only thing on the former No. 8's mind. He even admits that he got inside his own head as he hoisted up his final free throws.
I'm thinking "better not miss these free throws" #countonkobe— Kobe Bryant (@kobebryant) January 22, 2013
Not even the Mamba can rattle the Mamba, though, as he drained them, reaching 81 points for the game.
And at that moment, there Kobe had it—the complete footage of him making history.
What did he think?
He thought it was masterful.
As did we.
Looking back, watching the performance this time around was just as incredible as watching it live.
Why, you ask?
Because we got to watch it with the 81-point man himself, Kobe Bryant.