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Kobe Bryant's career at the United Center filled with memorable moments

Kobe Bryant will play in Chicago for the 15th and final time of his 20-year, eventual Hall of Fame career Sunday. He is 6-8 all time at the United Center. Here's a look back:

Dec. 17, 1996 — Bulls 129, Lakers 123 (OT): Bryant scored five points with one rebound in 10 minutes off the bench. The Bulls rallied from an 18-point deficit as Toni Kukoc scored 18 of his 31 points in the fourth quarter. Kukoc sank six 3-pointers.

Dec. 17, 1997 — Bulls 104, Lakers 83: Bryant scored 33 points with three rebounds and two assists in 29 minutes off the bench. Several of his baskets were of the highlight-reel variety — windmill dunks and twisting drives.

This is the game when the comparisons to Michael Jordan began to hold some merit. Why? Just ask Jordan, who asked coach Phil Jackson to keep him in the game well into the fourth quarter despite the blowout to match up with Bryant.

That's the ultimate sign of respect. Jordan scored 36 points, mostly sinking mid-range jumpers.

"Kobe's a great young player who might one day take his throne," Ron Harper said. "But I don't think Michael's ready to give his throne up yet."

1998-99 season — No game; lockout-shortened schedule.

Feb. 15, 2000 — Lakers 88, Bulls 76: Bryant scored 21 points with five rebounds, five assists and five steals in 42 minutes.

April 5, 2001 — Didn't play; viral infection.

Jan. 12, 2002 — Bulls 106, Lakers 104 (OT): Bryant scored 26 points with nine assists, seven turnovers and five rebounds in 47 minutes. The game was marred by an ugly melee late in regulation, started when Brad Miller and Charles Oakley continued the Bulls' Hack-A-Shaq strategy with a hard foul on Shaquille O'Neal.

Miller was whistled for a type-2 flagrant foul, an automatic ejection. O'Neal took two steps toward a retreating Miller and unleashed a roundhouse right. The inevitable scrum followed, leading to ejections for Oakley and O'Neal and Miller losing his jersey. Rick Fox was ejected as the scrum subsided.

Bryant made two free throws with 14.4 seconds remaining for a 94-91 lead. But after two timeouts, Ron Mercer hit a 3-pointer with 9.9 seconds remaining to force overtime.

In the extra session, Tyson Chandler swooped in to slam a Ron Artest miss home with 28.1 seconds remaining. Artest fouled out on a questionable call on Bryant with eight seconds remaining. Bryant hit the first free throw and missed the second, but a double foul brought a jump ball and a final Lakers possession.

Bryant's 19-footer rimmed out. Fred Hoiberg grabbed the rebound and was fouled with 0.5 seconds remaining, icing the victory with a free throw.

March 11, 2003 — Bulls 116, Lakers 99: Bryant scored 36 points with five assists and five rebounds in 43 minutes.

March 13, 2004 — Lakers 88, Bulls 81: Bryant scored 35 points with eight rebounds and five turnovers in 38 minutes. Jordan sat in a suite with former teammate John Paxson, in his first season as general manager. Bryant took over late, hitting a jumper in Kendall Gill's face and following with a pump fake and lefty scoop under Tyson Chandler. He scored 12 straight points. "That's why he's a superstar," Gill said.

Dec. 1, 2004 — Bulls 92, Lakers 84: Bryant scored 28 points with 10 assists and six turnovers in 44 minutes. After Bryant sank a 3-pointer in the fourth quarter, he put his finger in front of his mouth to silence the crowd. "This is Chi-town," a fired-up Chandler said. "Nobody is shushing us." Indeed, the Bulls rallied late behind Luol Deng and Eddy Curry, who each scored 18.

Dec. 9, 2005 — Lakers 93, Bulls 80: Bryant scored 23 points with nine rebounds and eight assists in 37:25. On a night Jordan, Jackson, Horace Grant, Toni Kukoc, Bob Love and others looked on as the Bulls retired Scottie Pippen's No. 33 in a halftime ceremony, Bryant led five Lakers in double figures.

Dec. 19, 2006 — Bulls 94, Lakers 89: Bryant scored 19 points with four assists and four turnovers in 38 minutes. Chris Duhon and Thabo Sefolosha helped harass Bryant into foul trouble and 6-for-19 shooting. He eventually fouled out for the first time in more than a year.

Dec. 18, 2007 — Lakers 103, Bulls 91: Bryant scored 18 points with six rebounds and three steals in 36:23. He sank four straight shots over Kirk Hinrich in the third quarter to help the Lakers pull away.

March 21, 2009 — Lakers 117, Bulls 109: Bryant scored 28 points with seven assists and five steals in 36:47.

Dec. 15, 2009 — Lakers 96, Bulls 87: Bryant scored 42 points with eight turnovers in 39:06. In one memorable stretch, he drew two fouls from John Salmons and stared down Kirk Hinrich, sinking eight straight jumpers.

"What I respect most about Kobe is I know how hard he works," coach Vinny Del Negro said. "He puts in the time and works on his game in the summer. He adds things to his game. That's what the great players do — find ways to get better."

Dec. 10, 2010 — Bulls 88, Lakers 84: Bryant scored 23 points with seven rebounds and five assists in 37:47.

At the morning shootaround, Bryant was asked if moments like his postgame chat with Derrick Rose on Nov. 23 in Los Angeles represented a passing of the torch.

"I ain't passing (expletive)," Bryant said with near disgust.

Rose finished with 29 points and nine assists and said he loved Bryant's response, saying the killer mentality is great. Rose's step-back jumper with 25.2 seconds left stemmed a Bryant-led run.

Back at the morning shootaround, Bryant pondered a follow-up question on whether Rose would have to take the proverbial torch from him.

"He can certainly try," Bryant said.

2011-12 season — No game; lockout-shortened schedule.

Jan. 21, 2013 — Bulls 95, Lakers 83: Bryant scored 16 points with five assists in 41:58. On a night Tom Thibodeau said Rose was "very close" to being cleared for full contact practice in a season he didn't play after left ACL surgery, Jimmy Butler subbed for an injured Luol Deng and helped force Bryant into 7-for-22 shooting.

"Jimmy was terrific," Thibodeau said. "A guy like Kobe you can't guard individually. You have to rely on your entire team."

January 20, 2014 — Didn't play; fractured knee.

Dec. 25, 2014 — Didn't play; general soreness.

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