The 2020 NBA championship picture is heating up, but we’re going back ten years to revel in an outstanding Finals performance by Kobe Bryant. The 2010 NBA Finals would see two old foes lock horns one more time, and cement the legacy of one of the all-time greats. Here is the story of the 2010 NBA Finals.
The Lakers and Celtics rivalry
Most basketball fans don’t need much of an introduction to the rivalry between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Boston Celtics. The two franchises are the most successful in basketball history, and when it comes to the NBA Finals, things can get pretty heated. For many years the Lakers players and fans felt as though they were cursed when playing their Boston rivals in the championship game.
It wasn’t until 1985 that the Lakers were finally able to beat the Celtics in the biggest game of the year, at the ninth time of asking. With so much hurt, the great Lakers team inspired by Magic Johnson was finally able to lift the curse against the Celtics. Since then, the franchises haven’t met too often in the finals, but following victory in 2008, the Lakers were looking for revenge in 2010.
The game was neck and neck
The Finals series was a back and forth saga where neither team ever got more than one game ahead. The Celtics only took the lead in the series at 3-2, so the Lakers had to rally and step it up to make sure they ended the Finals as champs. Thanks to Bryant’s determination, the brilliant defensive skills of Pau Gasol, and Ron Artest’s frequent scoring, the Lakers fought back to win a memorable Finals series.
Kobe would earn the Finals MVP award for inspiring his team to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat late in the series. His performance on that series would cement Kobe’s legacy as one of the greatest and most important players in both the Lakers and basketball history.
Black Mamba mentality
The Lakers were the reigning NBA champions, and they were not willing to let go of that title when facing off against their oldest of enemies. Still, they knew their record against the Celtics, so it was pretty much the toss of a coin that would decide which franchise came out on top. However, with Kobe Bryant on the Lakers roster, you knew there was one player who was going to give it his everything to be crowned champion.
In the seven-game Finals series, Bryant was the top scorer for the Lakers in six of them. While he couldn’t win the Finals series on his own, Bryant was putting in just about everything he had to give. His determination to keep on scoring baskets led to an unforgettable victory, and it was clear just how much the victory meant to Bryant. He didn’t let go of the ball from the moment the victory was sealed and can be seen clutching it in the post-game celebrations.
The basketball world is still getting over the sadness of losing Bryant in a helicopter accident in January 2020. Thanks to moments like this Finals MVP performance, we can all look back at Kobe’s career with nothing but admiration.