Everyone knew that Kobe Bryant was going to be playing his final game against the Utah Jazz. Yet, nobody could ever guess what the Los Angeles Lakers got out of the legendary itching body that has been through so much in the NBA.
“Man, I can’t believe how fast 20-years has gone by,” Bryant said after the game. “I think the most important part was that we stayed together through the ups-and-downs. To be drafted, then traded to this organization — you can’t write something better than this. We can’t run in the down years — and we did it the right way.”
He left the game with 4.1 left in the game. He went over to hug Gary Vitti — the long-time Lakers trainer — as the fans chanted Kobe.
While it was his sixth 60-point performance in his career — and first since 2009 when he had 61 against the New York Knicks — he became the first player to have the most points ever scored in his finale, but went 22-of-50 from the field. It’s also the highest scoring game in the NBA this season.
“What else can I say…. Mamba out,” Bryant added.
The original plan was for Bryant to play the entire third quarter and play only six minutes of the fourth quarter. However, with the score close, head coach Byron Scott wouldn’t take him out until the game was out of reach.
This was pure insanity as Kobe had ice all over his body in the past few seasons, as the Lakers were eliminated from playoff contention months ago. Nobody has ever questioned the heart that this man has had over the past 20-years.