Kobe Bryant had the perfect ending to his long and accomplished career. Wednesday night was the final game of his NBA stint and he wrapped it up by rallying his team to a Los Angeles Lakers victory over Western Conference rivals Utah Jazz.
Kobe Bryant scored 60 points at the Staples Center and gave the Lakers the close 101-96 victory over the Jazz. He first hit a 3-pointer with 59 seconds left. He then hit another with 31 seconds remaining, taking the Lakers ahead 97-96. He finally finished with an assist with 4.1 seconds left giving the Lakers’ its 17th win of what was a lost season.
“It’s hard to believe it happened this way. I’m still shocked about it,” Kobe Bryant said, reports FOX Sports.
For Bryant, putting on a good show for one last time is what kept running in his mind.
“The perfect ending would have been a championship. But tonight was (me) trying to go out, play hard and try to put on a show as much as I possibly could. It felt good to be able to do that one last time,” Bryant added.
Kobe Bryant also had his own share of laughs at the end of the night.
“The thing that had me cracking up all night long is, I go through 20 years of everybody screaming to pass the ball. And then the last night, they’re like, `Don’t pass it!,’” Bryant said amidst loud cheers.
The entire court roared with his name. Kobe’s teammates too left no stone unturned to make his last game a memorable one. They set him up to score points on every occasion. Few days back Nike made a memorable video for Bryant in his honor.
Kobe Bryant is now the oldest player to score 50 points in an NBA game. He is also the fifth player in NBA history to play 20 seasons, and the first with just one team. He is retiring after playing for 20 seasons, five championship rings and 18 All-Star selections with the Lakers.
“It just didn’t surprise me, the way he would go out,” said Lakers coach Byron Scott of the performance of Kobe Bryant. “Sixty points wasn’t a surprise. I knew he had it in him.”