I have self-doubt. I have insecurity. I have fear of failure. I have nights when I show up at the arena and I'm like, 'My back hurts, my feet hurt, my knees hurt. I don't have it. I just want to chill.' We all have self-doubt. You don't deny it, but you also don't capitulate to it. You embrace it.
Make that your senior quote, kids. That's better than some quote from Rogue One.
Come the NBA season's tip off in October, it will have been two seasons since Kobe Bryant's farewell tour. That is both alarming and saddening because, for as game-changing players as Stephen Curry and LeBron James are, Kobe was one of the last pieces from the 1990s; he was a relic from a more physical era, but one whose teams likely wouldn't fare well against today's superteams.
And yes, Kobe had his own superteams and yes, he'd probably have done something similar to what Kevin Durant did. For as loyal as he was to the Lakers, Kobe wanted to win at all costs.
As one of the game's most popular players, people seem to think they know all about Kobe Bryant, but how well do you know the Black Mamba? Sure, he played all of his career with the Los Angeles Lakers, but what Hall of Famer did he pass for the most seasons with one franchise? We call him the Black Mamba and KB24, but what are some of Kobe's other nicknames?
If you think you know Kobe Bryant, get the Lil' Wayne playing and let's do this.
What is Kobe's middle name?
There's certain celebrities, especially athletes, who are nearly almost always called by their first names. LeBron. Peyton. Tiger. Venus. Serena. Kwame. Et al. Because of how unique his name is and his legendary career, Kobe Bryant almost instantly became one of those athletes, but his middle name gets used in conversation as well; Stephen A. Smith, at times, would call Kobe by his full name in First Take's prime days, for example. To start our quiz off, can you get this one right?
How many times was Kobe named NBA Finals MVP?
Some of you may be too young to remember when Kobe Bryant's legacy was seriously in question ten years ago; the Lakers were struggling to do much damage in the West with Kobe as their lead dog, while Shaquille O'Neal had already won a championship with Dwayne Wade and the Heat in 2006. Over eight years after Kobe won his first championship without Shaq, that seems like a silly debate to have in hindsight, no? With or without the Diesel, how many Finals MVP did Kobe win?
What was the name of Kobe's rap group?
Like we've touched upon several times, former NBA commissioner David Stern made a major mistake when he tried to rid the league of its 'hip hop culture' in the mid 2000s. Sure, players wearing suits on the sidelines instead of baggy clothes is one thing, but the whole thing just comes off as a massive middle finger to black culture, especially the players that enjoyed rapping. By no means was Kobe a great rapper, but he did release an album and he did have a rap group. What was their name?
True or False: Kobe's 81 points are second to Wilt Chamberlain's 100 for the most in a single game?
Fun fact: if you tweet Jalen Rose anything with the number '81' in it to reference him and the Toronto Raptors allowing the Mamba to score that much on them, he'll immediately block you. What happened on that January 2006 night remains extraordinary; and, thankfully for some Laker fans, it's a happy reminder of a dark period in the franchise's history. Darker than what the Lakers are going through now? Considering that these Lakers have hope, no. Are Kobe's 81 points second to Wilt's 100 for the most in a single game?
We all know Kobe was drafted by the Charlotte Hornets in 1996. What pick did they use on him?
Though it wasn't as bad a draft mistake as, say, the Minnesota Timberwolves taking Jonny Flynn and Ricky Rubio with consecutive picks in the 2009 NBA Draft over Stephen Curry, fans will still laugh at the then-Charlotte Hornets taking Bryant and then trading him to the Los Angeles Lakers in exchange for Vlade Divac. At the time, especially considering Kobe was raw and coming straight out of high school, the decision made sense. Now? Well, you and I both know the answer to that. What pick did the Hornets use on Bryant?
In addition to Black Mamba, what nickname has Kobe gone by?
While we do love Kobe Bryant, we do have to go back to what we were taught as kids for this one: giving yourself a nickname is stupid. Remember what happened to Mac from "It's Always Sunny" when he tried giving himself a nickname during his stint in the mob? They named him Pussyhands! Kobe gave himself an additional nickname to go along with the Black Mamba...and we actually like how it turned out. You know what the answer is, right?
What year did Kobe win the Slam Dunk Contest?
Recent years and the demise of the dunk being interesting - it's all about taking three-pointers, kids! - have unfortunately made basketball fans forget the days of Dwight Howard, Nate Robinson, Shaquille O'Neal, and Kobe Bean Bryant dazzling for days with their dunks. Anyone remember when Shaq broke the backboard? Though interest is slowly being revived in the Slam Dunk Contest, we're likely never again to see the brilliance of days past, especially when Kobe Bryant won in...you tell me!
Kobe led the NBA in scoring in 2006...and this season.
With the post-Shaquille O'Neal days in Los Angeles came a need for Kobe Bryant to do what alpha dogs with mediocre supporting casts do: take over the game, 82 times a year. Given that Kobe had his 81 point game (more on that later) in 2006, you can probably imagine that he led the league in scoring that year with 35.4 points per game on 45 percent shooting from the field. There was another year, however, where Bryant led the NBA in scoring and, had the voters gotten it right, should have been named the league's MVP. Which season was this?
Which Lakers teammate has Kobe not publicly feuded with?
Well, you knew that a question regarding Kobe and Shaq's relationship was bound to come up at some point. Though the two have made their peace now, things were once much uglier - and funnier, as Shaq's 2008 freestyle where he told Kobe to "tell me how my ass tastes" will tell you - and it ended with O'Neal being dealt to the Miami Heat in 2004. Kobe's had problems with other teammates, especially Kwame Brown, but who HASN'T the Mamba PUBLICLY feuded with?
Who is known as the 'Kobe Stopper?'
Whether it's the greatest hitter in baseball history or a dominant scorer, there will always be someone who knows them best and can stop them with ease. Yes, there was indeed a 'Kobe Stopper' that excelled at preventing the Black Mamba from dominating games...or was he? This small forward nicknamed himself 'The Kobe Stopper' when Bryant was early in his career, showing off how dangerous Vino was even at that age. Who would dare to nickname themselves 'The Kobe Stopper?'
Speaking of Kwame Brown, why did he and Kobe not get along?
In theory, the Lakers trying to trade for Kwame Brown as a potential replacement at center for Shaquille O'Neal - after the team struggled without the Diesel in 2004 - makes sense! Brown showed flashes, but was traded to the Grizzlies in 2008, giving Kobe and the Lakers an All-Star big man while opening a full-time spot back up for Andrew Bynum. Relations between Brown, currently playing in the BIG3, and Bryant remain sore, but what is it that went wrong?
Sticking with accolades, which of these years was Kobe not named to the All-Defensive First Team?
Because of how dominant Kobe was on the offensive side of the floor, it does get easy to forget that in his prime, the Black Mamba was a hell of a defender. Prior to the injuries that plagued the end of his career, Kobe was a mainstay on the All-Defensive team, making the first team seven times in eight years at one point! Bryant never took home Defensive Player of the Year, but don't think for a second he half-assed it on defense. Which of those years did Kobe not make the first team?
True or False: Kobe is the youngest player to ever make an NBA All-Star Game
Should Kobe Bryant have been an All-Star in his final three seasons? Probably not, but we'll give his selection in 2015-16 a pass because the NBA All-Star Game means nothing. For most of his career, however, Bryant absolutely deserved to be in the All-Star Game and was a constant highlight reel. When someone's putting in effort during the NBA All-Star Game, you know something special is happening. We mentioned Bryant making the NBA All-Star Game as a 19 year old - was/is he still the youngest to do so?
Kobe is often mentioned in rap songs. In Jadakiss' 'Why?', what question does Jada ask about The Black Mamba?
Nas? Check. Lil' Wayne? Yep. Young Jeezy? Yes. Meek Mill? Kendrick Lamar? If there's a rapper you listen to - and none of this current day trash; we're talking actual rap music - then chances are they've mentioned Kobe at some point. In his 2004 single 'Why?' Jadakiss name drops the Black Mamba and questions Kobe about the ongoing rape case in Colorado. This is by no means done in a mocking way, but as an actual, "what'd you do, man????" What does Jadakiss ask?
How many gold medals did Kobe win in the Olympics?
In his 2012 track 'Blood Diamonds', California rapper The Game praised the U.S. Olympic Team for winning that year's basketball tournament (spoilers!) and specifically complimented "LeBron and Durantula." What about Kobe? Why not mention the guy who averaged 12.1 points on .429 percent from the field and made 90 percent of his free throws. We love you, Game, but why snub Kobe? After the 2012 Olympics, Kobe retired on top, but how many gold medals did he win in total. Think wisely here!
South Park featured a fictional Kobe Bryant in an early episode. Why did Kobe come to South Park?
Sticking with the aforementioned rape case, it seems like the type of joke South Park would take a shot at (no pun intended) when featuring a fictional Kobe Bryant arriving in Colorado. Did they make that joke? Well, you can answer that below, but here's a better question: is remembering when Kobe Bryant had hair tougher than remembering when South Park killed Kenny every single episode? I don't really think there's an easy answer for that, but if you know South Park well, this will be an easy one.
Who did Kobe pass for most seasons with one team?
It's easy to forget that there was a time when Kobe Bryant was likely on his way out of Los Angeles in 2007, but when all is said and done, we're glad he stayed in the purple and gold. True, his final seasons were ugly and that Achilles injury in 2013 was a damaging blow for a team that very well could have shocked some people in the Western Conference playoffs, but Kobe stayed through it all. Before setting the record for most seasons with one team, who was Bryant behind?
Which 1990s show did Kobe guest star on?
It's almost become commonplace at this point for athletes to cameo on TV shows - Seinfeld, with all of the cameos from Yankees players, is one of the best to do that - but rarely are the athletes ever young. Even when The Simpsons did 'Homer at the Bat', the majority of featured players were veterans; Ken Griffey Jr. was the only real exception. But, a still-teenage Kobe Bryant appeared on this show BEFORE his first season with the Lakers officially started. Which show was it?
Let's talk video games. Kobe was the youngest player to have a video game named after him. What was it titled?
Put simply, even an older Kobe Bryant was still a cheat code in the NBA 2K games. Unless you were playing on strict sliders, Kobe could still run the fast break, do a baseline-to-baseline dunk, and sink three-pointers with ease - and that's as recently as his final appearance in NBA 2K16. Would you have guessed, though, that Kobe Bryant once had a Nintendo 64 game named after him? This wasn't uncommon, especially when Ken Griffey Jr. had done it with baseball, but Kobe? What was the game called? And yes, there's footage online.
In addition to NBA 2K17, which NBA 2K game starred Kobe on the front cover?
On the eve of his final game, 2K Sports made a special announcement: those who wanted to shell out some extra money would be able to get a special version of NBA 2K17 which, rather than having Paul George on the cover, included Kobe Bryant and some goodies. Kobe shoes? A Kobe jersey? An autographed basketball? Nope, just things you could use online when the servers were working. Sure, I guess. 2K17 was not the first 2K game Kobe appeared on the cover on - can you remember the first?
Which Call of Duty game featured Kobe in a trailer?
Call of Duty is no stranger to featuring celebrities and popular music in their advertisement and, much like they and Battlefield had done with MLB pitchers Cole Hamels and CC Sabathia respectively, Kobe Bryant was next to aim his gun. Looking down the sight with a customized rifle, Bryant drew controversy by the brainless - and Skip Bayless - for appearing in a commercial with a gun...despite the fact there's much worse things to get mad about. Which CoD game featured the Mamba?
Which division did Bryant average the most points against?
Now this will probably be one of the tougher questions on this list, especially for the diehard Kobe Bryant fans out there. Is it the Pacific Division, given that it was Kobe's home? What about the Atlantic Division - Kobe did score his 81 against the Raptors and had a 61 point game against the New York Knicks in 2009? If you get 34 out of the 35 right and this is the one you get wrong, don't feel bad. Take a shot!
What program is Kobe the official ambassador for?
If you're a professional athlete or celebrity of some sort, it's both good publicity and good for your soul to partner with - or, even create your own - charity organization to help the less fortunate out. As long as you don't piss people off, insult the kids, or steal money from them, you're in good shape and Kobe, because he's a better person than people give him credit for, has done exactly that with this organization. Which one is it?
What was Kobe's Olympic high for points in a single game?
When 2008 came around, Kobe and the rest of the United States team that took to the Bejing Olympics were ready to kick ass and avenge their disappointing showing four years before. Kobe definitely played a part in helping the team win gold, scoring buckets game after game as he'd do in nearly every Olympic game he played in. With that in mind and knowing Kobe's mentality to treat every game like a playoff game, what do you think his Olympic-high was?
True or False: Kobe is the second player, behind only Michael Jordan, to record 30,000 points and 6,000 assists
If there's one positive that may have come from Kobe's injuries at the end of his career, it's that we avoided the debates that would arise between his legacy compared to Michael Jordan's. Those debates are already too insufferable right now between Jordan and LeBron James...and no, we're not touching that. Ask Skip Bayless what he thinks. Late in his career, Kobe reached a rare milestone: 30,000 points scored and 6,000 assists dished out. Is the only other player to do that Michael Jordan?
What is Kobe's single-game high for assists?
And yes, Kobe Bryant had 6,000 assists in his career, so stop with the jokes about him not passing. Though he wasn't much of a passer early in his career, the Black Mamba seemed to realize later in his career that, yes, maybe he should dish the ball out more.... until his final season, that is, when Bryant averaged only 2.8 assists per night. When you dish out 6,000 assists in your career, you're bound to have a relatively single-game high - what was Kobe's?
What is Kobe's single-game high for free throw attempts?
No, we didn't use the pictures of him taking shots from the free throw line against Golden State after tearing his Achilles. We don't want to relive that night. Put simply, Kobe took a lot of free throws and and routinely got the job done from the line, making 78.9 percent of his shots - though never more than 86 percent, which is whatever because he was going to score those points from the floor anyway. What's Kobe's single-game high in free throw attempts?
Let's talk about Kobe's final game last year. Who did it come against?
It only makes sense that in a quiz celebrating Kobe Bryant's fantastic career, we talk about the fantastic game that ended his career in 2016. In a nationally televised home game attended by celebrities and ex-teammates alike, Bryant exploded for 60 points, ending a trying season that saw the Lakers go 17-65 on a high note. With the Lakers having been eliminated from the playoffs long ago, Bryant did what Derek Jeter did in his final home game with the Yankees: end it with a bang. Who did Bryant's Lakers play?
How many field goal attempts did Kobe take in the win?
Because basketball is a game where one can take as many shots as they want, it seemed obvious coming in that the Lakers were going to give Kobe 100 shots if he felt like taking that many. Unlike baseball where a legendary hitter, even in their final game, may only reach the plate three times, Kobe had a chance to take shot after shot on that Wednesday night. Setting a single-game record for himself, how many shots did Bryant take to reach his 60?
What other single-game high did Kobe set against the Jazz?
So the good news, if one wants to look at things with a glass half full point of view, for Kobe is that he set a new single-game record in shot attempts. But, this was not all that the Black Mamba did in the five point win, as he set another record for himself. It's one that got lost in all of the hoopla about 60 points and the shot attempts - can you figure out which of the following it was?
Kobe's final game was moved to ESPN2. What was happening on regular ESPN?
Naturally, when a legend is about to retire and is playing in his final game, major networks will try to pick it up; MLB Network, for Derek Jeter's final home game in 2014, picked up the YES feed and let fans around the world watch Jeter pick up a walk-off single against the Orioles. Though the ESPN family of networks picked up Kobe's final game, sports fans were infuriated that the game, starting at 10:30 ET, was moved to ESPN2. What was the cause?
In which quarter did Kobe outscore the entire Jazz team?
Many will dismiss Kobe's final game - and yes, that is a purely intentional callback to the first question - because of how many shots he took to get those 60 points, but there were times where he really did look like the dominant Kobe of old. One quarter, in fact, saw the former MVP outscore the entire Jazz team by a 23-21 ratio, putting him in great position to end the game with over 50 points. Which quarter was that?
Out of a possible 246 games, how many did Kobe miss from 2013-16?
Entering the spring of 2013, Kobe Bryant looked rejuvenated for a 34 year old; the Lakers were starting to look dangerous, there was more and more of a chance Dwight Howard would re-sign with the Lakers (or so we thought), and Kobe looked ready to win his sixth ring...until tearing his Achilles against the Warriors. Between injuries and age, Kobe wasn't on the court much in his final years - though, he did persevere in the 2015-16 campaign. Any idea how many games he missed in those three years?
How many games in his career did Kobe not start, but played in?
Which of these is more surprising: that Kobe's last 'relief' appearance came in 2003-04, or that Kobe only started seven games in his first two years. Or, that Kobe wasn't a full-time starter until the 1998-99 season? Yep, Kobe had to work his way up into being a starter and actually only started one game in 1997-98, the year he made his first All-Star Game at 19 years old. Weird, right? With that in mind, can you guess how many regular season games Kobe came off the bench in?
When did Kobe have his first 40 point game?
Look at young Kobe rocking the afro and goatee! Years of Kobe with a shaved head and a fairly clean chin make this appearance nostalgically sad and for good reason: Kobe looks so young here! Alas, Kobe went on to grow up like the rest of us, but his game only got better as he aged. When the time came for Kobe's first 40 point game, we'd already seen so much of his potential that it didn't shock us at all. When did this happen?