No one, not even Kobe Bean Bryant, could have predicted what NBA Nation witnessed last night. Bryant score 60 points on his retirement night. He shot his way into the history books once again, leading his young team to an incredible comeback victory.
And after the game, with all the emotion and excitement, he let everyone know how appreciative he was of his teammates (Current and Former), family, and most importantly, the fans.
And then he said, “Mamba Out” and dropped the mic!
What a way to end a remarkable career!
Bryant gave the Lakers faithful what they wanted at Staples Center. An epic performance
that capped off a brilliant 20 year NBA career. A final offensive explosion in the Lakers’ 101-96 victory over the Utah Jazz.
The game started off sloppy for Bryant as he missed his first five shots. Then after blocking Utah’s Trevor Booker’s layup, Kobe went on to make 5 consecutive shots, including a 3 pointer that ignited the crowd.He finished the first half with a game high 22 points.
Bryant would score 38 points in the second half, 23 of them in the fourth quarter, making him the oldest player to ever score 60 points in his final appearance. That 23-point, fourth quarter effort helped erase a 15-point deficit to win the game.
Five championships, League MVP, Finals MVP and 18 All-Star game selections, all with the Lakers,are all part of him being the fifth player in NBA history to play 20 seasons, and the only player to do it for one team.
This was Kobe’s night and everyone involved played their parts in honoring Bryant. Before the game, Magic Johnson introduced Bryant. From there, a video in tribute aired that showcased messages from former teammates Derek Fisher, Shaquille O’Neal and Lamar Odom; fellow NBA players, Stephen Curry, LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Kevin Garnett, Dirk Nowitzki, Dwayne Wade, Carmelo Anthony and Pau Gasol; coaches Phil Jackson and Gregg Popovich; and the Lakers number one fan, Jack Nicholson.
The past few years for Kobe ended with injuries and franchise record breaking losing seasons. And while he’s played through these tough times we all can see the wear and tear has become evident. However, as the end approached, Bryant gave the fans across the globe a show for the ages, one last time.
Written by Keith Madyun