Although Kobe Bryant has coined his own nicknames before, his latest self-created moniker seemed particularly appropriate after an intoxicating performance against Atlanta.
Kobe called himself Vino, and the Los Angeles Lakers are savoring this particular vintage.
Bryant scored 11 of his 34 points in the fourth quarter and hit the go-ahead layup with 9 seconds left, leading the Lakers back to .500 for the first time in more than two months with a 99-98 victory over the Hawks on Sunday night.
Before comparing himself to a fine wine, the 34-year-old Bryant made two enormous baskets while scoring the Lakers' final six points. A few possessions after he drove past Josh Smith and threw down an arena-rocking dunk with his right hand, Bryant drove right at Smith and willed a layup over the taller defender for the winning points.
''I just had to attack,'' Bryant said. ''I wanted to attack and just go right at them. Take the game to them. Be aggressive. Be physical. And it worked out.''