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On this date: Young Kobe scores total of 81 points in back-to-back games

On this date: Young Kobe scores total of 81 points in back-to-back games

When the Los Angeles Lakers won the NBA championship in 2000, Kobe Bryant was an up-and-coming star who had played excellent ball on both ends of the floor.

But he wanted to be more than that. He wanted to be the best in the game.

Early the next season, after putting in tons of hard work during the summer, Bryant started to prove that there was nobody, or at least no non-big man, who was better than him.

After struggling to be consistently efficient in November, he started December with a bang. He scored a new career-high 43 points on 16-of-31 shooting, plus six assists, in a big win over Tim Duncan and the San Antonio Spurs.

As if to prove it was no fluke, two nights later, he had a similar explosion against Dirk Nowitzki’s Dallas Mavericks.

He put up 38 points on 15-of-28 shooting, which included two clutch baskets in the final 80 seconds, while also dishing off another six assists, as the Lakers held off Dallas for a 99-97 victory.

It wouldn’t be long before people around the NBA started calling Bryant the game’s best all-around player, a title he would hold on to for at least another decade.

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Story originally appeared on LeBron Wire