Sunday, December 4 2022

When the 2007-08 season began, the Los Angeles Lakers were simply hoping Kobe Bryant would remain with them after he had infamously demanded a trade during the offseason.

But against all odds, they became a good team, as their young players, in particular center Andrew Bynum, showed massive improvement.

With their record at a very strong 24-11, Bynum suffered a dislocated kneecap and bone bruise versus the Memphis Grizzlies that would keep him out for at least eight weeks.

Everyone held their breath and hoped for the best as the Lakers headed up north to face the Seattle SuperSonics the following night.

Bryant poured in 48 points, including the game-winning shot with 4.3 seconds left in overtime to give L.A. a 123-121 win.

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Afterward, Bryant’s comments during a post-game interview on the court with Los Angeles-based KCAL-TV caught people’s attention.

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“We’re a championship-caliber team when he’s in the lineup,” Bryant said of Bynum.

Several months after demanding a trade and insisting he’d rather play on Pluto, the Black Mamba had indicated that he still saw himself as a member of the team, and that it was capable of winning it all.

Of course, Christmas would come on Feb. 1 when it would acquire All-Star big man Pau Gasol, and soon afterward, Bryant and the Lakers would finally reach their cherished destiny.


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