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NBA, Video / Aug 23, 2012 / 4:30 pm

Video: Kobe Bryant’s Top Clutch Plays

I’ll be the first to knock Kobe for his “clutch” shooting. Volume, over time, has bled through our collective memory and drowned out the the hoards of misses. There’s no doubt that Kobe Bryant has hit a ton of clutch shots over his entire career, but that has come with a price – lots of awful, last-second heaves. Then again, Kobe’s known for making difficult shots look easy. And, with his late-game reputation, he routinely faces double teams and added pressure that most don’t. So maybe he is better than my estimation, or maybe he’s not. But that doesn’t mean we can’t appreciate his basketball genius. Check out a sampling of some of his best clutch shots. Turns out there really are a lot them. It is his birthday, after all.

It’s unbelievable how many of those shots are fadeaways. Kobe’s known for them, of course, so we don’t quite marvel at the spectacle as much as we used to. But if you take a step back for a moment, it’s breathtaking. No matter how you feel about Kobe, his non-passing, his attitude, etc., you can’t deny that his play is gorgeous. Smooth. It’s just aesthetically pleasing, and that provides a palpably added value. What that is, who knows. And maybe that’s where the Kobe mystique comes from.

But I’ll always remember this one, way back in the beginning, when Kobe passed up a contested floater for an alley-oop to Shaq. Because sometimes the clutch play isn’t scoring.

What do you think?

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