April 13 had been circled around Lakers fans’ schedule for a while now because they knew it was the last time Kobe Bryant would play a professional basketball game. Lakers fans and players, along with Utah Jazz fans and players didn’t know what to expect from Bryant in the last game in his 20-year career. Most probably expected to see a lot of shots, hoping to see a glimpse of this once-storied competitor. Bryant on the other hand, gave everyone watching the old Kobe Bryant, the old fashion way.
In a little over 42 minutes of play, Bryant scored 60 points, making 22-50 field goal attempts, including 6-21 from the three-point line. Bryant was also really good from the free throw line, making 10 of his 12 attempts. Among his 5 NBA championships, 2 final MVPs, 2008 NBA MVP, and the 11 All-NBA first team selections, Bryant will be remembered for his clutch shooting in big moments. Last night was a big moment, and with 31 seconds left in the 4th quarter, the Lakers on the wrong side of 96-95 deficit.
Bryant nailed a pull-up jump shot to give the Lakers a 97-96 lead. Bryant went on to sink two crucial field goals and got the ball to Jordan Clarkson for a dunk that sealed a victory for the Lakers, just their 17th victory this season.
Bryant must now move on past his playing days, and the Lakers will look to rebuild toward a return to the glory days of victories and championships, with players like Wilt Chamberlain, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Magic Johnson, Shaquille O’Neal, and Bryant. For Bryant, it wasn’t the perfect ending, but one certainly fit for a Hollywood epic.