Kobe Bryant dropped 60 points in his final NBA game as the Los Angeles Lakers defeated the Utah Jazz 101-96 at the Staples Center on Wednesday night. It was almost the perfect finish to a near flawless career.
This was a spectacle like no other. Media members from around the world gathered to cover the momentous occasion. Laker loyalists and celebrities were in attendance. Even some of Kobe’s teammates and bitter most rivals from yesteryears were there to bid the Black Mamba goodbye.
Prior to the game, coach Byron Scott wanted his former teammate to have as much fun as possible. “Like I told him: ‘This is the last hurrah. Let’s have some fun. Let’s go out with a bang,'” Scott said after a team shootaround on Wednesday, hours before the last game of Bryant’s 20-season career.
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Tipoff: 10:30 p.m. (Eastern)
Odds Line: Jazz -5.5 (Over/under 193)
In all, there will be close to 500 credentialed media members to cover the game. This is unprecedented for a regular season game. “I’m about as ready as I can be. I really don’t know what to expect,” Scott, who was part of the 1996-97 Lakers squad in which Bryant debuted, added.
Kobe Bryant inspires teammates…
Flea, bassist of the Red Hot Chili Peppers and good friend of Bryant, will play the national anthem to kickoff proceedings. That would be followed by a heartfelt tribute video.
“Everybody been keeping it kind of under wraps, but I think everybody should prepare for a show in terms of the stuff before and after and during the game, and after the game. It’s just going to be a cool little thing to send him out,” said second-year guard Jordan Clarkson.
Coach Scott intends to give Bryant all the playing time and shot attempts in the world. “A lot of shots, a lot of minutes. I’ve got targets,” said the former Showtime Laker when asked about how he plans to use Kobe Bryant in his farewell game.