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Tuesday, August 2, 2011
81: The video game version

By Andy Kamenetzky

In the category of "Things that are kind of ridiculous and drive home how much free time the average American has on his hands, but nonetheless are pretty flippin' cool and a boatload more fun than today's lawsuit filed against the NBA players association," I give you...

Kobe's 81 points, presented in NBA2K11 form!!!

To better appreciate the quality craftsmanship at hand for this video game reenactment, watch this clip with all of Kobe's points, which was clearly was the model for the Pixel version. As you can see, it's a very faithful walk down memory lane.

Except for one notable oddity.

Watching the video game version, I noticed a dude in a No. 13 jersey. This caught my attention because I didn't recall anybody wearing that number during the 2006 season. With good reason, since those digits were retired in 1983 to honor Wilt Chamberlain.* So who was this character with a 13 on his back? After a few frame by frame comparisons, I believe I've pinned down our player in question.

Smush Parker, who wore No. 1 as a Laker.

So what's with the 13 in the video game? Perhaps tagging Smush with the traditionally unlucky digits is a cheeky reference to dark cloud of negativity synonymous with his stint here. Perhaps it's a refusal to refer William Henry as "No. 1" on any level. Or perhaps it was just good old-fashioned human error. Either way, the outcome does feel appropriate.

(UPDATE: I guess I became so obsessed with solving the "13/Smush Parker" mystery, a brilliant bit of randomness flew right over my head. Pau Gasol is on the Laker bench and actually takes the floor, fist pumping in celebration, after Kobe scores 81. For that matter, it looks like Shannon Brown might be on the sidelines as well. Stock footage? Thanks to Land O' Lakers regular Dan Bailey with the heads up.)

* - For those wondering, the last Laker to wear 13 was forward/center Dwight Jones during the 1982-83 season. His middle name? Elmo. For realz.

(Hat tip to Laker Nation and Forum Blue & Gold.)