When the 2007-08 season began, the Los Angeles Lakers were simply hoping Kobe Bryant would remain with them after he demanded a trade during the offseason.
The team seemed doomed to yet another season of mediocrity, but against all odds, it became a good team, winning 17 of its first 27 games.
On Christmas Day, the Lakers hosted the Phoenix Suns, the team that had knocked them out of the playoffs in both of the prior two seasons.
Bryant made sure the Suns would never quite catch up to Los Angeles by scoring a very efficient 38 points, grabbing five assists and giving out seven assists.
At the same time, 20-year-old center Andrew Bynum, perhaps the biggest reason for the Lakers' strong start, had a breakout performance. He scored 28 points on 11-of-13 shooting to go along with 12 rebounds.
Bryant had been recorded during the summer saying Bynum needed to be shipped out, and it looked like he had earned the Black Mamba's respect.
Little did anyone know at the time how miraculous the 2007-08 campaign would turn out to be for the Lakers.
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Story originally appeared on LeBron Wire