16 Apr Kobe Bryant’s Final Game, He Scores 60!
2 decades of greatness, the Black Mamba’s farewell game ended with a bang! Turning back the hands of time, the vintage Kobe Bryant show off his tenacity in the court as he sunk 60 points in his final outing against the playoff hopeful Utah Jazz in Los Angeles.
A night where the Golden State Warriors parading in the news streams after reaching a historic accomplishment of 73-9 regular season record, breaking the previous record held by the Michael Jordan-led 1995-1996 Chicago Bulls. But this does not eclipse Kobe’s final moment on the court. A star-studded Staples Center witnessed the brilliance of Kobe one more time. The Staples Center was thronged by celebrities like JayZ, Kanye West, Kendrick Lamar, Adam Levine, Snoop Dogg, and David Beckham, to name a few.
A 22-point half coming off from 20 field goal attempts means something for Kobe and his squad, that is covering the Lakers’ 48% of shot attempts in the first half, trailing the Jazz 42-57. What is more dramatic is what happened in the second half of the game where he owned 68% of Lakers’ field goal attempts!
After Launching 9 treys and sinking 2 of them in the first half, Kobe attempted 12 more in the second half with a 33% clip in his attempts. He burst for six straight points to start te 3rd quarter. What’s more astonishing is that he scored 23 points in the 4th quarter, 60% behind the arc! In the final 3 minutes of the 4th quarter, he dropped 15 of those 23 points to drain Jazz’s hope of spoiling Kobe’s final game. Dragging his team to a 101-96 win over Utah.
However, this is coming off from 50 field goal attempts. But with his 22 made field goals, that put him at 44% from the field, 1% shy of the league average, no reason to get mad with his shooting overabundance. He became the fourth player to score 50 shot attempts in a game joining Wilt Chamberlain, Elgin Baylor and Rick Barry.
His teammate that has the closest field goal percentage was Jordan Clarkson and Deangelo Russell. Each with 10 attempts and sunk 50% of them. 40 field goals separate them, that’s insane! But for Kobe, he has the license to shoot, and his deliverance never came empty with the 17th win for the Lakers.
His 60-point game is the highest this season knocking off Anthony Davis’ 59-point performance. This is the sixth 60-point game of his career, second most behind Laker legend Wilt Chamberlain, and the most of any player in their closing game. With Kobe aged 37 years, he is the only player to have scored 50 points since Michael Jordan in 2001 and he is the only player to have recorded 60, not Mike.
No matter how we criticize that avalanche of shots Kobe has made, we have to admit that we want to see that kind of game that Kobe has been used to. “Let Kobe be Kobe” as a common phrase we hear from then and now. It’s his moment, we can’t rob that from him and from the people who made him as an inspiration for 20 years.
Shaquille O’Neal, Kobe’s ex-teammate, said in an interview with ESPN’s Rachel Nichols: “I challenged him to get 50 and the mother****er got 60”
The flamboyant Black Mamba tour on every opponent’s home court this season magnetized fans from all generations, there were nights that the Mamba is off, showing age and rust, but this game tonight has been described by Kobe as “You can’t write something better than this.”
The Lakers’ 17-65 record this season is the worst in the franchise history. Kobe witnessed it and played through it, but there is no season that the Mamba has been so happy than his final season with the Lakers.
Below are the accumulated awards that Kobe had made in his 20 years in the league.
While here is some of his notable all-time NBA totals.
Few can argue just how much impact Kobe does in the league. It’s not only on the court but off the court, being claimed as the transition player and face of the NBA since the departure of Michael Jordan, during the arrival of LeBron James, and before the appearance of Stephen Curry.
Laker Hall-Of-Famer Magic Johnson praised Kobe’s legacy saying, “Excellence, for 20 years. Kobe Bryant has never cheated the game. He has never cheated us as the fans. He’s played through injuries, he’s played hurt, and we have five championship banners to show for it.” He also added, “He is not only a great and unbelievable sports icon but also, he’s the greatest to wear the purple and gold.”
Perhaps, the moment that many fans also wanted to say in the closing game of his career is in passing the torch to the next Laker cornerstones.
During Jazz’s timeout after a Clarkson dunk from a Kobe pass, Bryant approached Clarkson, Russell, and Randle in the mid-court hugging them as the cameras and video recorders gathered to record the invigorating moment.
It’s not just the present and past that Kobe had made an impact in the world of basketball, but also to the future generations, and these three players are anticipated to be the next core for the Lakers’ new era of whatever achievement they may attain.
After the game, Kobe hugged and kissed his wife Vanessa and had his final speech delivered to the satisfied crowd in the Staples Center.
“I can’t believe how fast 20 years went by,” he said. “This is crazy. This is absolutely crazy.”
“Mamba, out” he ended his speech as he waved goodbye to the crowd.