Kobe Bryant went out in vintage form on Wednesday night (April 14), as he poured in a season-high 60 points in front of a sold-out Staples Center crowd one final time.
He led his Los Angeles Lakers to a 101-96 comeback win over the Utah Jazz, before addressing the crowd for the last time.
“I can’t believe how fast 20 years went by. Man, this is crazy,” Kobe said after the game. “This is absolutely crazy … and to be standing at center court with you guys, my teammates behind me, appreciating the journey that we’ve been on — we’ve been through our ups, been through our downs. I think the most important part is we all stayed together throughout.”
Kobe outscored the Jazz by himself 23-21 in the fourth quarter, before he finally checked out with 4.1 seconds left. The crowd serenaded him with chants of “Kobe! Kobe! Kobe!”
He threw up 50 shots Wednesday night, the most taken by anyone in an NBA game in the past 30 seasons, according to Stats LLC. It was also his sixth 60-point game of his career and marked the most points scored by a player in his final regular-season game.
“What’s funny — the thing that had me cracking up all night long — the fact that 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, laughing.
“What can I say? Mamba out,” Bryant said, before dropping the mic.