Kobe, Koelble - Only link is one number

January 31, 2006|by TIM KOELBLE

Even though I'm not a hardcore fan of the National Basketball Association - except for following Lebron James - I have to be amazed at the recent 81-point performance by Kobe Bryant.

Watching the highlights with shot after shot going through the twine, I wondered whether his 46 attempted shots were out of selfishness or necessity. Probably a little of both, with Kobe being the one-man team that he is and his Lakers team having a sub-par record.

That was nearly 1.7 points per minute off of nearly one shot per minute in an NBA game. Doesn't sound like a lot broken down, but added up over a 48-minute span, the numbers fill the scorebook quickly.

How is Bryant's performance gauged against the 100-point game by Wilt Chamberlain?

Some say it was a greater effort by Bryant because he was scoring from everywhere on the floor, whereas Chamberlain's productivity came basically in the paint. Unfortunately, Chamberlain's game was played in Hershey, Pa., and there was no television. Newspaper accounts indicate his inside scoring, as was the case throughout his career.


"Wilt the Stilt" hit 36 field goals and was 28 of 32 from the stripe on that March 2, 1962 night in Hershey. He led his team to a 169-147 win over the New York Knicks. Bryant, in the era of the 3-point goal, hit 28 field goals and was 18 of 20 from the line in a win over Toronto.

With so many egos in the modern era, I'd have to rate Bryant's 81 a notch above Chamberlain, simply because he was doing it all over the floor. By no means does that make Bryant, however, a greater player than Chamberlain.

I vaguely remember the headlines in the local newspaper the day following Chamberlain's 100. I was 10 years old then and already well aware of the sports scene.

After watching Bryant's highlights, something struck me and I had nothing to do but chuckle in my mind.

Bryant had just scored more points in one game than I had scored in two years of varsity basketball total. (This is where I laughed at my basketball abilities).

We were a football school. We won a Ohio state championship in 1965. A basketball power we were not, and I certainly didn't do anything to add to our success on the hardwood (insert a chuckle here).

However, I do remember my one "Kobi-esque" night when we were in a scoring free-for-all. It was up-and-down the floor, any defense played that night was somewhere else. We lost 136-102. The '1' on the backside of my 8 points was missing.

That was the big night of my basketball career.

Tim Koelble is a staff writer for The Morning Herald. His column appears every other Tuesday. He can be reached a 301-733-5131, ext. 2311 or by e-mail at:

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