Kobe Bryant left the NBA in dramatic fashion last night, dropping 60 points in the final game of his career.
As bad as the Lakers have been, the season has been even more upsetting, since this is Bryant’s last season in the NBA. However, Bryant remains the one bright spot in the Lakers’ squad this season, especially after last night.
“The Lakers aren’t even good this year, but I watch because of Kobe. It’s going to be so different next season with him not playing,” said Ramapo junior Ebony Saxton.
As 37-year-old Bryant’s career has ended, Kobe fans everywhere will remember him as one of the greatest basketball players of all time.
“What can you say? The man was unbelievable at times,” Lakers coach Byron Scott said in an interview with ESPN of Bryant’s performance against the Rockets yesterday where he dropped 35 points. “Sometimes you just sit there and marvel the way he is able to play this game at a high level after 20 years of basketball.”
This past Saturday, fans were outraged when they found out that Bryant’s final game in the NBA was bumped from ESPN to ESPN2.
The reasoning behind this decision is the time of the Warriors’ game against the Grizzlies, being that the game decided whether or not the Warriors would win their 73rd game of the year, which they did. They broke the 1995-’96 Bulls record of 72 wins.
“This is his final game ever. Are they serious? I really don’t get it. That deserves to be seen on a major platform,” said dedicated fan of Bryant, Amber Deane.
Bryant is not only respected by his devoted fans, but he is highly respected by his fellow teammates and also his competitors. Metta World Peace wished Bryant nothing but great things in the future in an interview with ESPN.
“He’s been 20 years in the NBA, and now the Black Mamba is going home to be with his family, and I’m happy for him,” World Peace said. “I’m excited that he’s going home after a 20-year career and going home to be with his family and his children and his wife and just do good things, family things, like wake up in the morning, cook breakfast, take the kids to school, go watch the kids play soccer, go to the movies and just do regular stuff. That’s what I am excited for.”
Bryant said that he didn’t want the Utah Jazz to take it easy on him at all just because it was his final game. The Jazz had previously beaten the Lakers by 40 points, and the Jazz played hard, despite being knocked out of playoff contention earlier last night.
It was an emotional night for Bryant and all of his fans, loaded with celebrities, Bryant’s old teammates, and diehard fans throughout the feeling.
“I can feel it, and it feels pretty damn awesome,” said Bryant in an interview with ESPN regarding his final game. “Going through the years of losing and not leaving [the Lakers] makes it all worthwhile standing here and taking the good with the bad and the fans embracing that and understanding that we ride together. That’s a love that you can’t break.”
Bryant will go down as one of the greatest basketball players of all time. He retires as a five-time NBA Champion, two-time NBA Finals MVP, and an 18-time All Star. He ranks third on the all-time career points list and won two scoring titles in his career. Bryant was also an 11-time First Team All NBA, nine-time All-Defensive First Team, a four-time NBA All Star Game MVP, and an NBA MVP in 2008.