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The Greatest Photo From Every Season Of Kobe Bryant's Career

We looked through tens of thousands of photos. These ones are the very best.

It's no exaggeration to say that Kobe Bryant has grown up on the parquet floors of the NBA's 29 arenas. When he retires at age 37 at the end of this season, he'll have spent many more years of his life in the NBA than out of it. 

So with only 55 games remaining in No. 24's record-breaking, roller coaster of a career, we decided to go through tens of thousands of photos of Kobe's two decades in the league and select the very best picture from every season of Kobe's tenure as a pro.

Photos were selected on three basic criteria: the importance of the moment, the dynamism of the photograph and how well the snapshot embodies the career and character of Kobe. 

Here's a look back at the times when he elated his fans and exasperated his rivals, matching up against some of the greatest ever, while hitting the big shot time and time again. All that added up to some nice photos along the way.

  • Rookie Year: 1996-1997
    Bryant eyes the basket during the NBA Slam Dunk Contest at All-Star Weekend on Feb. 8, 1997. On that day, at age 18, Bry
    MATT CAMPBELL/AFP via Getty Images
    Bryant eyes the basket during the NBA Slam Dunk Contest at All-Star Weekend on Feb. 8, 1997. On that day, at age 18, Bryant became the youngest player ever to win the contest.
  • Year 2: 1997-1998
    Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen try to stop Bryant as he leads a fast break in a Feb. 1, 1998, game between the Chicag
    Vince Bucci via Getty Images
    Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen try to stop Bryant as he leads a fast break in a Feb. 1, 1998, game between the Chicago Bulls and the Lakers. Bryant scored 20 points that night, helping LA to a 112-87 win.
  • Year 3: 1998-1999
    Bryant elevates for a dunk at the Great Western Forum in Inglewood, California, in the spring of his third season with t
    Andrew D. Bernstein via Getty Images
    Bryant elevates for a dunk at the Great Western Forum in Inglewood, California, in the spring of his third season with the Lakers.
  • Year 4: 1999-2000
    Bryant gets up high to block a shot by Bonzi Wells of the Portland Trail Blazers during a playoff game on June 4, 2
    Andrew D. Bernstein via Getty Images
    Bryant gets up high to block a shot by Bonzi Wells of the Portland Trail Blazers during a playoff game on June 4, 2000, at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California.
  • Year 5: 2000-2001
    Bryant throws a pass around the back of the Philadelphia 76ers' Dikembe Mutombo during Game 2 of the 2001 NBA
    Nathaniel S. Butler via Getty Images
    Bryant throws a pass around the back of the Philadelphia 76ers' Dikembe Mutombo during Game 2 of the 2001 NBA Finals, on June 8, 2001, at the Staples Center.
  • Year 6: 2001-2002
    Bryant goes up-and-under for the layup against the San Antonio Spurs during Game 2 of the Western Conference Semifi
    Noah Graham via Getty Images
    Bryant goes up-and-under for the layup against the San Antonio Spurs during Game 2 of the Western Conference Semifinals on May 7, 2002.
  • Year 7: 2002-2003
    Bryant dunks over seven-foot-six-inch Yao Ming of the Houston Rockets on Feb. 18, 2003.
    Andrew D. Bernstein via Getty Images
    Bryant dunks over seven-foot-six-inch Yao Ming of the Houston Rockets on Feb. 18, 2003.
  • Year 8: 2003-2004
    On June 8, 2004, Bryant hits a deep shot over Richard Hamilton with just ticks remaining on the clock, tying up Gam
    Jesse D. Garrabrant via Getty Images
    On June 8, 2004, Bryant hits a deep shot over Richard Hamilton with just ticks remaining on the clock, tying up Game 2 of the NBA Finals against the Detroit Pistons.
  • Year 9: 2004-2005
    Bryant performs some acrobatics in the lane against Lamond Murray and the Toronto Raptors on Dec. 28, 2004.
    Andrew D. Bernstein via Getty Images
    Bryant performs some acrobatics in the lane against Lamond Murray and the Toronto Raptors on Dec. 28, 2004.
  • Year 10: 2005-2006
    Bryant shoots a free throw for his 81st point against the Toronto Raptors on Jan. 22, 2006. His 81-point scoring to
    Jeffrey Bottari via Getty Images
    Bryant shoots a free throw for his 81st point against the Toronto Raptors on Jan. 22, 2006. His 81-point scoring total that night was the second highest in NBA history.
  • Year 13: 2008-2009
    Bryant celebrates the Lakers winning the 2008-2009 NBA championship, on June 14, 2009, in Orlando, Florida. Bryant won F
    Wally Skalij via Getty Images
    Bryant celebrates the Lakers winning the 2008-2009 NBA championship, on June 14, 2009, in Orlando, Florida. Bryant won Finals MVP honors, as the Lakers easily defeated the Magic in a five-game series.
  • Year 15: 2010-2011
    Bryant hangs on to the rim after a Jan. 17, 2011, dunk against the Oklahoma City Thunder.
    Harry How via Getty Images
    Bryant hangs on to the rim after a Jan. 17, 2011, dunk against the Oklahoma City Thunder.
  • Year 15: 2010-2011
    Bryant, Andrew Bynum, Lamar Odom, Metta World Peace and Luke Walton laugh on the bench during a game against the Utah Ja
    Andrew D. Bernstein via Getty Images
    Bryant, Andrew Bynum, Lamar Odom, Metta World Peace and Luke Walton laugh on the bench during a game against the Utah Jazz on Jan. 25, 2011.
  • Year 16: 2011-2012
    Bryant looks on during a game against the Minnesota Timberwolves on Feb. 29, 2012. He had suffered a concussio
    Noah Graham via Getty Images
    Bryant looks on during a game against the Minnesota Timberwolves on Feb. 29, 2012. He had suffered a concussion and a broken nose in the All-Star Game a couple weeks prior.
  • Year 17: 2012-2013
    Moments after tearing his Achilles on April 12, 2013, Bryant somehow manages to sink two free throws before leaving the
    Noah Graham via Getty Images
    Moments after tearing his Achilles on April 12, 2013, Bryant somehow manages to sink two free throws before leaving the game. Less than 24 hours later, Bryant had season-ending surgery.
  • Year 18: 2013-2014
    On Dec. 8, 2013, Bryant steps onto the court for his first game since tearing his Achilles the previous spring. Unsurprisingl
    Harry How via Getty Images
    On Dec. 8, 2013, Bryant steps onto the court for his first game since tearing his Achilles the previous spring. Unsurprisingly, he received a huge ovation from the Staples Center crowd all throughout that night's contest against the Toronto Raptors.
  • Year 19: 2014-2015
    Two of the greatest players ever go head to head, as Bryant bodies up LeBron James on Jan. 15, 2015. The picture is strikingl
    Juan Ocampo via Getty Images
    Two of the greatest players ever go head to head, as Bryant bodies up LeBron James on Jan. 15, 2015. The picture is strikingly similar to one taken of Michael Jordan and Magic Johnson -- two other all-time greats -- decades earlier.
  • Year 20: 2015-2016
    Bryant waves to the Philadelphia crowd, acknowledging their loud ovation, prior to the Lakers' contest&nb
    Mitchell Leff via Getty Images
    Bryant waves to the Philadelphia crowd, acknowledging their loud ovation, prior to the Lakers' contest against the 76ers on Dec 1, 2015. Philadelphia held a pre-game ceremony for Bryant, honoring his 20-year NBA career.

 

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