In a stunning upset, the Philadelphia 76ers beat the Los Angeles Lakers in Game 1 of the 2001 NBA Finals. Kobe Bryant vowed to “cut” the hearts out of his opponents before winning the game and the championship.
Kobe Bryant was the youngest player to ever win an NBA Championship at the time. He had a very successful career, winning five NBA Championships and two Olympic Gold medals. Read more in detail here: kobe bryant highlights finals.
Kobe Bryant has a ferocious killing instinct unlike maybe any other player in NBA history who wasn’t called Jordan. Bryant had to overwhelm an opponent into submission rather than just defeating them. In the 2001 NBA Finals, the Los Angeles Lakers faced the Philadelphia 76ers, and despite growing up in Philadelphia, the Lower Merion High School alumnus had no problem assaulting the Sixers.
After Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal put the Lakers up 2-1 in the series, Kobe let some trash language fly.
Bryant and the Lakers were up 2-1 against the 76ers with two games remaining in Philadelphia.
At the conclusion of Game 2 of the 2001 NBA Finals, Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers and Allen Iverson of the Philadelphia 76ers exchange words. | AFP/JEFF HAYNES/Getty Images
That playoffs, LA was coming off its first of three consecutive titles, and they swept the Western Conference. The Sixers battled Toronto and Milwaukee, but as the No. 1 seed in the east, they accomplished what they were expected to do and clinched a place in the finals.
After that, Allen Iverson and his Philadelphia 76ers stunned the world in Game 1. The MVP of the year and his Sixers team were huge underdogs. However, AI scored 48 points in overtime, and Philadelphia triumphed 107-101. Bryant had a poor performance in Game 1, playing 52 minutes and scoring just 15 points.
In Game 2, though, the 18-time all-star scored a game-high 31 points in a 98-89 LA win. In the victory, he had eight rebounds and six assists, as well as two steals and two blocks.
After that, Bryant promised to “rip (Philadelphia’s) “hearts out.”
Bryant delivered on his visual promise when the Lakers defeated the 76ers by double digits in the following two games. It was the Lakers’ second championship in a row. In his hometown, the Black Mamba called his shot and won.
In a 100-86 Game 4 victory, the future Hall of Famer came close to a triple-double with 19 points, 10 rebounds, and nine assists. With a 26-point, 12-rebound effort in the game-winner, he recorded his second consecutive double-double.
According to a report on ESPN.com, Bryant had no remorse about his remarks, despite receiving a considerable amount of backlash:
“As far as an apology goes, I’m not sorry for saying I’m going to kick some a**. Simply said, I’m not going to do it. But I adore the city and am grateful for all it has taught me. As a result, I’m very grateful.”
In the 2001 NBA Finals, Kobe Bryant made some remarks against Philadelphia.
Later, Bryant acknowledged that playing in Philadelphia was always special to him.
He would never apologize for anything he said in the heat of battle; if he did, he wouldn’t be Kobe. However, as he progressed in his career, Bryant said that Philadelphia was a particular location for him.
“It means a lot to me now, more than it did when I first came back here when I was 21-22, because I don’t know how many more times I’ll be playing in front of Philadelphia fans at this point in my career. As a result, it takes on a greater significance.”
Later in his career, Bryant wants to play in Philadelphia.
Bryant was an all-time competitor and a renowned trash talker. Those two were sometimes interchangeable. In the 2001 finals, he utilized them both to his advantage, and he did indeed rip the 76ers hearts out on their own court to win his second of five NBA titles.
Basketball-Reference provided all statistics.
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Kobe Bryant is widely regarded as the best player in NBA history. In 2001, he led his Lakers team to victory against the Philadelphia 76ers in the NBA Finals. Reference: kobe bryant best nba player.
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