Kobe Bryant turned his final Los Angeles Lakers game into a record-breaking spectacle, with Bryant scoring 60 points in his last NBA game. No other NBA player has even scored 50 points in their final game, but Kobe gave the Lakers 60 points, 15 of which were scored in the final 3:04. The Mamba’s final, last-chance three minutes, gave the Lakers a come from behind win. The Lakers trailed Utah Jazz 96-84, at the three-minute, four-second mark, but Kobe’s last three minutes put the Lakers over the top.
Kobe Bryant had a 60.5 percent usage rate, setting another record as the highest player usage rate in an NBA game. Then, yet another landmark as Kobe took 50 shots, the most in an NBA game in over 30 years. He even broke his own former record. The final score was 101-96. Fans were going wild.
After the game, the 20-year Los Angeles Lakers veteran took the microphone to give his farewell speech, as reported on ESPN. Though drenched in sweat, Bryant was only slightly out of breath after the amazing exhibition. The Mamba proved he could play one of his most memorable games ever on his last day on the job. At 37, Bryant seemed to be an even better player than he was in his younger days.
“Man! You know, I can’t believe how fast 20 years went by. This is crazy, This is absolutely crazy”
Kobe Bryant, with his usual talent for a dramatic speech, ended his final farewell from the court.
“What can I say? Mamba Out!”
Bryant, blew a two-fingered kiss to fans before he dramatically set down the mic.
When asked by USA Today, what he will miss most about his remarkable career with the Los Angeles Lakers, Kobe began listing fans, teammates, and all the familiar faces around the stadium. Suddenly, though, he just paused and changed his tone a bit, before continuing.
“But, nothing supersedes the game.”
Kobe Bryant wistfully explained that he loved to play, wanted to play. Even if he was injured, he evaluated carefully, and he only missed a game or left the court if he thought it would literally cripple him or destroy his ability to play in the future. He didn’t mind playing through the pain of an injury. He wanted to keep playing no matter what, but he has been with the Los Angeles Lakers for 20 years and so, he feels it is time.
“I just love to play, I just kept trying to figure out different ways to play through things and you know it was basic logic to me if there was any reason the injury wouldn’t get worse, I’m going to play through it. If it’s an injury that’s just painful and I can navigate the pain then I will be fine, I will play. But I didn’t play with things that would lead to career ending things.”
Kobe Bryant though, says he isn’t sad about ending his career with the Los Angeles Lakers. He’s ready for change, though it is hard to imagine him far away from the hardwood.
“I’m thankful, I’m not sad at all. I left no stone unturned, I gave everything to the game for 20 years in the NBA and more before that. So I feel very thankful to be able to play this game this long.”
Today, Kobe Bryant will be honored with Mamba Day. Musicians, sports reporters, sneaker manufacturers, and so many fans honor him with various tributes. Nike will release a Mamba Day option for the Kobe 11 today. The radio will be playing special tributes as well. What will Bryant be doing on his first day of retirement?
Kobe Bryant plans to work out and go on a date with his wife.
[Photo by Harry How/Getty Images]