ADMIT ONE: A front row seat to the career of the Black Mamba

nichj99

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With the current market of cards shifting in 2020 due to COVID, increased interest from returning members, more investors looking to make a buck or the incredibly saturated market of base and rookie inserts being sent off for grading I found myself once again losing interest in the hobby after returning about 12 months ago. I had started to collect my favourite player of all time, Kobe (only for his prices to sky rocket after his death and put most items out of reach), and my Faried needs are mostly now limited to completing the flawless master set (watch out for that mailday post soon)

Back in the middle of June, I had awoken in the middle of the night and remembered that somewhere in 2016 I had purchased and put away a ticket stub to the Black Mamba's final NBA game. My mind was racing and absolutely had to find it out of fear that I had lost it. Luckily, I found it tucked inside a box from when we moved house in 2017 and had placed it inside a cupboard for another day.

Scared I was going to damage it, I arranged to send it off to PSA to be slabbed & authenticated. I wasn’t really expecting much – purely a means of protection. But the label and display it came back in was simply amazing.

Final Game.jpg


This lead me to my next chase idea – a ticket stub from Vino's most memorable or iconic games. I recalled reading about a collector in the US who was trying to gain a ticket stub to every single Michael Jordan game that he played – more than 1200 of them. Such a list was purely subjective to my own opinion so there was no firm checklist available and the chase could effectively be whatever I needed it to be to satisfy my need to chase. I needed to establish – how many games do I put on the list? Do I chase 3? 5? 10? As I began making a list of all the games and career highlights and achievements, the only reasonable solution I could think was to settle at the only mystical number that made sense - 24.

So for now, I’m going to do a slow reveal on the games on my list and the order I’ve placed them in as I acquire the corresponding ticket stubs, so this will be periodically updated and bumped from time to time. I guess it's a modified episode of 20-to-1.

You could probably easily guess some of the games on the list, others you may not recall until you see it listed, and another section you may have completely forgotten about. For what it’s worth, this list could easily be made at more than 50 – and that’s a testament to the incredible legacy he left on the league and a generation of basketball fanatics around the world.

Without further ado, lets get the count started with the #2 spot on the list....

1.

2. Mamba Out - April 13, 2016-Los Angeles Lakers 101 vs. Utah Jazz 96

The Headline: Kobe Scores 60 in unbelievable farewell victory​


Kobe Bryant scored 60 incredible points. He carried a miserable Los Angeles Lakers team to an improbable comeback victory. And with sweat and confetti all over his gold uniform for the final time, he expressed humble thanks to his fans and family for their loving support over two decades.​

"What else can I say?" Bryant asked. "Mamba out."​

The Moment: Sliding over a Julius Randle screen and into a pull up jump shot over the outstretched Trey Lyles from the right elbow, Kobe Bryant makes a go-ahead basket with 31.6 seconds left to play to rally the Lakers from a 15 point deficit to a 97-96 lead, giving him his 58th point for the night as Staples Center erupts.​
Final Game.jpg

3. INCOMING

4.

5. A New Mecca Record - February 2, 2009—Los Angeles Lakers 126, New York Knicks 117

The Headline:
Kobe's 61 set MSG mark as Lakers roll Knicks


Kobe Bryant broke the current Madison Square Garden record with 61 points, and the Los Angeles Lakers looked plenty potent without Andrew Bynum in a 126-117 victory over the New York Knicks on Monday night. The all time record was held by Bernard King (60) and opposition record by Michael Jordan (55).

The Moment: With 3:28 remaining in the 4th quarter, Kobe fakes Knicks forward Wilson Chandler, spinning to his left to shake free of his defender for an open jump shot. He receives an standing ovation from the Madison Square Garden crowd as he exits the game just over a minute later.

Kobe Knicks.jpg


6.

7.

8.

9.

10.
 
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nichj99

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11.

12. The moment Los Angeles changed - April 12, 2013 - Los Angeles Lakers 118. Vs Golden State Warriors 116

The Headline: Kobe exists Lakers win, might have torn achilles


Kobe Bryant pushed his fraying body and his Los Angeles Lakers teammates relentlessly through the second half of a vital game until he felt a searing pain in his left heel.

Bryant's Achilles tendon apparently is torn. His season likely is over.

The moment: With GSW leading by double figures earlier in the match, "Vino" yet again put the Lakers on his back and rallied the team in the second half with another night of heavy minutes and large scoring load. Questions were being asked for weeks prior - how much more of a toll could his body take? A red-hot mamba drew the score level at 107-107 with 3:38 to play before an attempted drive on his next possession saw him fall to the floor on the take off. He immediatly asked Harrison Barnes if he had stood on his foot - before realising what had just happened. The Lakers called a timeout and Kobe returned to shoot two free throws with a torn achilles before exiting the game for good.


6F235334-F619-42B9-A3AB-66A1C6B02857.jpeg


13.

14.

15.

16.

17. A Little Bit of History Repeating - March 18, 2007 - Los Angeles Lakers 109 vs. Minnesota Timberwolves 102

The Headline: Kobe first Laker since 1962 with back-to-back 50-point games


Bryant became the first Lakers player with consecutive 50-point games in 44 seasons, following a 65-point game with 50 against Minnesota on Sunday night in Los Angeles' 109-102 victory over the Timberwolves. Elgin Baylor last achieved the feat in 1962, when he did it for three straight games.

The Moment: With the Timberwolves ahead by a point with 47 seconds remaining in Overtime, Kobe receives a pass on the wing from Smush and is immediately double teamed by Ricky Davis and Rashad McCants. He attempts and makes a contested 3 point shot over both defenders from the right wing 105-102 and the Lakers never looked back.

Kobe Game March 2007.jpg


18.

19.

20.

21.

22.

23. It's never over until Kobe says it is - March 8, 2013 - Los Angeles Lakers 118 vs Toronto Raptors 116

The Headline: Kobe’s late game heroics lifts team to OT win


Kobe Bryant's steely determination never wavers. It's his 34-year-old body he sometimes wonders about. They rallied from 25 points down to beat New Orleans on the road two nights earlier, when Bryant had 42 points and 12 assists. This time, he finished with 41 points and 12 assists, and made 14 of 16 free throws.

The moment: Catching the ball of an inbound pass in the front court after a timeout, Kobe catches, fakes to create space over a Rudy Gay and Demar Derozan double team, drilling his third consecutive three pointer of the final two minutes in regulation – tying the score and sending the game to overtime.

Kobe Game 32.jpg


24. INCOMING
 
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nichj99

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Thanks all, I’m really excited about this project and can’t wait to get the next few in hand (I have another 3 incoming, touch wood should have them around the end of the month). I think the allure of this being a jigsaw piece to history makes it a really captivating hunt
 

skip20

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Didn't even knwo they graded ticket stubs, or that they looked that good!

Totally echo your sentiment with the raising prices and 'investors' pricing some of the OGs out of the market. About the only thing I can afford to do is sell off some cards when / if I ever get organised enough.... lol

Great idea though, looking forward to see the rest.
 

nichj99

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Hello all! We have a new entry today on the list at Spot #5 ! Hope you enjoy the write up :)

I also have 3 other tickets which I will post between now and xmas in a slow reveal... and a big one to come early next year!

Let me know what you think - too high? Too low? Or just right ;)
 
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Muhaimin

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I've just uploaded an entry for the #23 position on the list - probably a lesser remembered performance in the bigger picture of things.

This one will be sent off to PSA shortly so I'll update the photo when it returns.

Two more to be put up before xmas :)
Where do you buy them?
 

nichj99

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Entry #12 submitted, whilst this may not be a true "highlight" it certainly is a key a point in his career when everything changed... I'm a believer that you can't tell the story of Kobe Bryant without this match being an important chapter.

That's now 5/24 revealed... the 3 most recent will head off to PSA and pics of all will be updated while I'm on holidays
 
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