Coming into the final game of his NBA career with the Los Angeles Lakers, Kobe Bryant had played three games in five days and was hoping to end his playing days on a high note against the visiting Utah Jazz at the Staples Center. Although Bryant wasn’t sure how it would all come to an end, the five-time NBA champion was prepared and ready to put on a show on Wednesday night in Los Angeles.
After a rough start to the game in which Bryant missed five straight field-goal attempts, the superstar began to catch fire and headed into halftime with a game-high 22 points. Kobe kept it going in the third quarter adding another 15 points to his total and then finished it off with 23 more in the fourth quarter ending his career with an incredible 60-point performance.
Following the unforgettable performance against the Jazz, Bryant spoke to the media and admitted to being in shock about what transpired in his final game in a Lakers uniform:
I can’t believe this actually happened, to be honest,” Bryant said after scoring 60 points against the Utah Jazz. “This is kind of crazy to me, the last game at home. It’s hard for me to believe that it happened this way, it really is. Just the outpour of support all night long, former teammates, fans, and family. It’s just cool to be here, it’s unbelievable. I’m still in shock about it. Then I’ll allow myself to go back and read a lot of the things and watch some of the commentary and videos, just kind of take it all in.”
Bryant’s 60 points against the Jazz proved to be the highest total of any player in the NBA this season. Kobe’s previous high during his final season was 38 points against the Minnesota Timberwolves back in February. The Lakers star scored 31 points or more on six separate occasions during the 2015-16 campaign.
Kobe gave a lot of credit to the Lakers fans in attendance for his final game on Wednesday. The support of the fans was the driving force and the most memorable part of the 60-point performance, according to Bryant:
I think the fans, the reaction of the fans, the chanting, the support, the encouragement,” Bryant said. “I was really, really tired. I just had to continue to push. The fans’ support was tremendous. I think that is the thing I’m going to remember.”
With Kobe’s 20-year career coming to an end following the win over the Jazz, the 37-year-old will move on to the next chapter in his life with a well laid out plan of action. Unlike other NBA greats of the past, Bryant will not be taking a break as he’ll quickly get to work with his company Kobe Inc. this week.
The incredible 60-point farewell won’t be the last we’ve heard of the Lakers legend as he plans to make a considerable impression with his company. Bryant leaves behind an unforgettable legacy in Los Angeles as arguably one of the greatest basketball players of all time, but won’t be out of the limelight for long as he carries over his trademark determination in his next endeavor.