Let it forever be stated that no one gave Kobe Bryant the blues quite like Gilbert Arenas.
From telling Vince Carter that he wanted to try and "yank" Kobe at the All-Star Game, to actually crossing Kobe twice in the same game, Hibachi's quest to constantly give Kobe the blues is part of the reason why many fell in love with him and his game.
Yet, the one person who appreciated Kobe catching the work from Gilbert was Kobe, and when the opportunity arose to bring Agent Zero to Los Angeles in 2012 it was something he was open to.
"Some of the shots he took tonight, you miss those, they're just terrible shots, just awful. You make them and they're unbelievable shots." -- Kobe on Gilbert's 60-point performance, December 17, 2006 (ESPN)
It's hard to overshadow a Kobe Bryant epic scoring night, but it's important to remember that Bryant had just came off a 53-point performance his last game versus Houston. The next night, December 17th, Kobe went off for another 45 points, on 15-of-24 shooting with 7 threes and 8-of-10 from the line. Oh, and he also had 10 assists and eight rebounds.
Unfortunately, no one cared on that fateful night.
Black Mamba vs. Hibachi (Photo by Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty Images)
"It was bound to happen. I'm a scorer, so I was going to have one of those days where I was clicking. Most of the time when I've scored 46 in three quarters, we were blowing the other team out, so I didn't get to play in the fourth. But tonight was that time. It was a close game and I stayed in. I found the rhythm, especially in the fourth quarter and in overtime, and I never looked back." -- Arenas (via ESPN)
Sadly, there's a generation of young bucks that have no idea how much of a problem Arenas was in his prime. Gil had an awesome feel for the game, his handle was always smooth and his shooting stroke was lightning quick. More importantly, his thirst for scoring was never quenched, and he was crazy* enough to believe that he could light anyone on fire at any given moment.
60 points happened with Arenas going 17-of-32 from the floor and nailing five threes. More impressively, Gilbert was going full James Harden (while The Beard was still a senior in high school in 2006) with 27 free throw attempts (21 made). Oh, and he also had eight assists and eight rebounds. More impressively, Hibachi heated up in the second half and overtime, by pouring in 43 of those 60 points after halftime.
All hail Gilbert Jay Arenas, Jr. and Kobe Bean Bryant for giving us 105 points of wizardry back in 2006. Let's all kick back and enjoy the moment.
*Yes, we'd truly learn how crazy he was later on, but let's just appreciate these buckets for the anniversary.
Eddie Maisonet is the founder and editor emeritus of The Sports Fan Journal. Currently, he serves as an associate editor for ESPN.com. He is an unabashed Russell Westbrook and Barry Switzer apologist, owns over 100 fitteds and snapbacks, and lives by Reggie Jackson’s famous quote, “I am the straw that stirs the drink.”