In memoriam: The day Kobe Bryant scored 61 points at MSG

Kobe Bryant. New York Knicks.

Kobe Bryant. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

Kobe Bryant and his 13-year old daughter passed away in a tragic helicopter accident on January 26, 2020. Kobe was 41. These are my memories of the day he put up 61 points against the New York Knicks.

Kobe Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna passed away in a tragic helicopter accident on January 26, 2020. A life ended too soon at 41 years old.

Today is the saddest day I’ve ever experienced in sports to date. I would like to share with you one of the most important New York Knicks games for me. I found out so much about my teenaged son that day.

In one of the most exciting games played in the Garden, Kobe Bryant, the Black Mamba, scored 61 points. That was February 2, 2009, and it gave him the record for the player with the most points scored in the world’s most famous arena.

As a forever Knicks fan, this made Kobe the greatest player I loved to hate and I’ve been through Unseld, Bird, Magic, Jordan and now LeBron. He dared to come to Bernard King‘s house and break his Christmas day 60 point Garden record.

I screamed and yelled (and cursed) at him through the television. I was watching the game with my youngest son. He was not yet a Knicks fan but I was trying hard to hard to convert him and this game wasn’t helping my case. He, like most young men of his generation, was a Kobe fan.

No one on the home team could stop the Black Mamba that day. He was 19 of 31 from the field, three of six from outside and an amazing 20-of-20 from the line. The Garden fans even got into it and were chanting “MVP” for him, the opponent!

At the end of the game, I looked over at my son, he was so happy for Kobe. Bryant showed a whole generation the benefits of a strong work ethic. My son, 19-years-old at the time explained how he was applying Kobe’s work ethic to his own life. I couldn’t help but be grateful. As a mom, I had to finally admire this man’s game, and the effect he was having on my son.

Once again I looked over at my son, on this tragic day, as we watched the Nets at Knicks game on Sunday. He was somber and so sad. Stoic as we watched as of some of the players in the league try to compose themselves and play on. They knew Kobe would want them to.,

I scramble to find words of comfort but I can’t stop my own tears. That 19-year old who watched that game with me so long ago has continued to apply those Kobe standards to his life and I am so proud of him.

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Thank you so much, Kobe Bryant.