Kobe Bryant has 43 in summer game

Updated: August 17, 2011, 1:52 PM ET
By Andrew Kamenetzky | ESPNLosAngeles.com

Kobe Bryant made his first appearance this summer Tuesday at South Los Angeles' famed Drew League, and he wasted no time grabbing the headlines.

The Los Angeles Lakers guard scored 43 points, including a game-winning buzzer-beater while matched up against Oklahoma City Thunder guard (and L.A. native) James Harden.

Drew League commissioner Dino Smiley disputed various Internet and Twitter accounts that said Bryant scored 45.

As one would deduce from the numbers, Bryant -- who underwent an offseason platelet-rich plasma therapy procedure on his troublesome right knee -- looked good on the court.

"He was fresh," Smiley said. "His spring, his jump shot was nice. Getting to the basket. His jab steps and his footwork. Everything was very good."

Smiley kept the possibility of an appearance by Bryant under wraps, but once the superstar showed up, the news immediately hit cyberspace.

"That's when the line went about 75 yards out the door," Smiley said. "We had to have a sheriff at the door to keep crowd control. We knew it was going to be an unusual amount of people there."

The fans, who'd been chanting "Kobe" as Bryant dribbled the ball up the floor for the final play, stormed the court to mob the 13-time All-Star. To Smiley's recollection, that reaction was a Drew League first.

"We've had guys hit game-winners where their teammates run on the floor. Some of their friends may run on the floor," he said. "But that right there was mind-boggling. That trumped everything."

Andrew Kamenetzky is an author of the ESPNLosAngeles.com blog Land O' Lakers.

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