Bryant, Shaq & the Los Angeles Lakers swept the New Jersey Nets back in the 2002 NBA Finals with relative ease. Kobe Bryant averaged 26.8 points in the four-game sweep against the Nets. If the Black Mamba was dealing with some sort of illness, he didn’t let it affect his play on the court.
Shaquille O’Neal won the 2002 Finals MVP Award. However, the purple and gold don’t sweep the Nets without the contributions of Kobe. It’s pretty fascinating how Bryant and Michael Jordan had so much in common. That’s mostly why MJ was in tears at Kobe’s public memorial at Staples Center. Jordan basically looked at the Lakers icon as a little brother.
As we all know, Kobe is the greatest player in Lakers franchise history. He finished his career with averages of 25.0 points, 5.2 rebounds and 4.7 assists. Bryant won five championships with the Lakers and two Finals MVPs. He also won the 2008 regular-season MVP Award. According to the LA Times back in 2002,
“Did you hear what really caused Kobe Bryant to come down with food poisoning? It was a New Jersey mob guy. It seems the Jersey mob has bet heavily that the Nets will win the NBA title.
So it was the mob that poisoned the infamous bacon cheeseburger Bryant ordered from room service in the Sacramento Hyatt the night before Game 2 of the Western Conference finals?”
Bryant was named an Hall of Famer this year along with Kevin Garnett and Tim Duncan. It’s going to get emotional when it is time to present the Lakers legend.
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