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The 5 Best Individual Seasons of Kobe Bryant’s Iconic Career

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The 5 Best Individual Seasons of Kobe Bryant’s Iconic Career

Washington Wizards v Los Angeles Lakers
Getty Images Sport- Noah Graham

In honor of Kobe Bryant’s 36th birthday this month, let's look back at some of the greatest, polarizing, and most memorable moments of his 18-year career. With half of his life spent in the NBA, Kobe has provided a legacy which will be debated long after he retires, similar to the likes of Michael Jordan, who he is most often compared with. With August being “Kobe Month," we start with Kobe’s five best individual seasons of his career.

5. 2006-2007: 77GP, 31.6PPG, 5.7RPG, 5.4APG, 1.4SPG, 46.3FG%, 86.8FT%, 34.4% 3P, 3.3TO

Phoenix Suns v Los Angeles Lakers, Game 3
Getty Images Sport- Lisa Blumenfeld

5. 2006-2007: 77GP, 31.6PPG, 5.7RPG, 5.4APG, 1.4SPG, 46.3FG%, 86.8FT%, 34.4% 3P, 3.3TO

Phoenix Suns v Los Angeles Lakers, Game 3
Getty Images Sport- Lisa Blumenfeld

Kobe led the league in scoring for the second year in a row during the 2006-2007 season. He started the season as a facilitator, but then the team fell off due to injuries, requiring Kobe to score at an astronomical rate. The highlight of the season came during a four-game stretch, where Kobe scored over 50 points in each game, including topping 60 points twice. Kobe also won the All-Star Game MVP, his second of four overall.

4. 2012-2013: 78GP, 27.3PPG, 5.6RPG, 6.0APG, 1.4SPG, 46.3FG%, 83.9FT%, 32.4% 3P, 3.7TO

Los Angeles Lakers v Miami Heat
Getty Images Sport- Isaac Baldizon

4. 2012-2013: 78GP, 27.3PPG, 5.6RPG, 6.0APG, 1.4SPG, 46.3FG%, 83.9FT%, 32.4% 3P, 3.7TO

Los Angeles Lakers v Miami Heat
Getty Images Sport- Isaac Baldizon

Despite Kobe's unbelievable season, the Lakers "Super Team" never came to fruition. A full six years after the last season on this list, Kobe’s stats, clutch-play and effort remained nearly identical to the 2006-2007 season. From February on, Kobe would simply not let this team falter, playing through injuries and fatigue. Eventually Kobe hit a wall, tearing his achilles, but not before he submitted some of his finest basketball of his career.

3. 2002-2003: 82GP, 30.0PPG, 6.9RPG, 5.9APG, 2.2SPG, 45.1FG%, 84.3FT%, 38.3% 3P, 3.5TO

Kobe Bryant shares a laugh with Michael Jordan
Getty Images Sport- Robert Laberge

3. 2002-2003: 82GP, 30.0PPG, 6.9RPG, 5.9APG, 2.2SPG, 45.1FG%, 84.3FT%, 38.3% 3P, 3.5TO

Kobe Bryant shares a laugh with Michael Jordan
Getty Images Sport- Robert Laberge

The 2002-2003 season was the year Kobe supplanted Shaq as the Lakers’ best player. Kobe averaged 30 points-per-game, including a stretch where he scored 40 points or more nine consecutive times. The highlight of the season came against the Wizards, when Kobe exploded for 42 first-half points against Michael Jordan in their final encounter. Kobe finished with 55 points in the game, leaving no doubt that he was the heir apparent to Jordan.

2. 2007-2008: 82GP, 28.3PPG, 6.3RPG, 5.4APG, 1.8SPG, 45.9FG%, 84FT%, 36.1% 3P, 3.1TO

2008 NBA Finals Game 5: Boston Celtics v Los Angeles Lakers
Getty Images Sport- Jesse D. Garrabront

2. 2007-2008: 82GP, 28.3PPG, 6.3RPG, 5.4APG, 1.8SPG, 45.9FG%, 84FT%, 36.1% 3P, 3.1TO

NBA Finals Game 5: Boston Celtics v Los Angeles Lakers
Getty Images Sport- Jesse D. Garrabront

The 2007-2008 season has proved to be Kobe’s lone season MVP in his career. While his numbers don't jump out in comparison to other years, Kobe was as savvy as he ever was. He served as a true team captain, helping many of his teammates, including Ronny Turiaf, Jordan Farmar and Sasha Vujacic, all improve their games. Kobe led the Lakers to the NBA Finals, and had one of his finer playoff runs of his career despite losing in the championship.

1. 2005-2006: 77GP, 35.4PPG, 5.3RPG, 4.5APG, 1.8SPG, 45FG%, 85FT%, 34.7% 3P, 3.1TO

Toronto Raptors v Los Angeles Lakers
Getty Images Sport- Noah Graham

1. 2005-2006: 77GP, 35.4PPG, 5.3RPG, 4.5APG, 1.8SPG, 45FG%, 85FT%, 34.7% 3P, 3.1TO

Toronto Raptors v Los Angeles Lakers
Getty Images Sport- Noah Graham

Kobe’s best individual season came in 2005-2006, when he led a subpar supporting cast through a tough Western Conference. Without a doubt, this was Kobe’s greatest scoring season (35.4) in his career. The two highlights of the year included a 62-point outburst through three quarters against the Dallas Mavericks, who had 61 up to that point. And of course, there's the 81-point effort, a game that has helped define Kobe's lasting NBA legacy.

Zach Fetaru is a Los Angeles Lakers blog writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @fanforlife1988 ”like him” on Facebook and add him to your network on Google.