Kobe Bryant ended his 20-year NBA career in style last night scoring 60 points for the LA Lakers.
The NBA legend ending his 20-year career by scoring a mammoth 60 points in his final NBA game to inspire the LA Lakers to a 101-96 victory over the Utah Jazz at the Staples Center.
Playing front of a galaxy of stars, including Jack Nicholson and David Beckham, Bryant saved some of his best for his 1,566th and last game.
“Man, I can’t believe how fast 20 years went by, this is crazy,” Bryant said after the victory in an address to the crowd.
“To be standing on centre court with you guys, my team-mates behind me, appreciating all this, the journey we’ve been on.
“I grew up a die-hard Laker fan – I mean a die-hard Laker fan – so to be drafted and traded here and spend 20 years here, you can’t write something better than this.
“No words can describe how I feel about you guys, thank you, thank you from the bottom of my heart. What can I say? Mamba out.”
A sell-out crowd of 19,060 fans were packed in to see Bryant’s finale and the 18-time NBA All-Star soon had the crowd on their feet, hitting a couple of early three-pointers as he posted 22 of the Lakers’ 42 first-half points.
But more was to come in the second-half as the 38-year-old hauled his team from behind to win the game.
A video tribute to Bryant before the game featured many of basketball’s legends featuring Shaquille O’Neal, Lamar Odom, Stephen Curry, LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony and several other coaches.
“It was fun playing with you, it was fun playing against you,” O’Neal said. “Best Laker ever.”
Lakers legend Magic Johnson acted as master of ceremonies and told the crowd: “We are here to celebrate greatness for 20 years.
“He’s not only a great and unbelievable sports icon but he’s already the greatest to wear the purple and gold.”
Iconic film star Nicholson also appeared and later described Bryant’s retirement as a “melancholy” moment.
“It’s like anything – you don’t know what you had until you don’t have it,” he told NBA TV. “Fortunately we do know what we had and he has been great all the way.”