It has been two days since Kobe Bryant ran out of the tunnel for the final time for the Los Angeles Lakers, and it still doesn’t seem real.
In every Lakers fan’s wildest dreams, I don’t think that anyone could have realistically expected 50 points, let alone 60 from this version of Kobe. He had provided the fan base a number of vintage performances along the way during his farewell tour, but nothing of this magnitude.
His previous high for the season in the scoring column was 38 points in a home win against the Minnesota Timberwolves. Bryant nearly matched that through three quarters, as his three-pointer in the closing seconds of the quarter rimmed out, leaving him with 37 points with just 12 minutes left in his career.
To end his rookie campaign, Bryant hoisted up four airballs down the stretch of an elimination game against the Utah Jazz, effectively ending Los Angeles’ short-lived playoff run that season.
That was the way his rookie year concluded. He made sure it didn’t happen this time.
With the game seemingly out of reach, Bryant fought through exhaustion to will the Lakers to a victory, like he had done so many times throughout his soon-to-be Hall of Fame career. Facing a 10-point deficit, Kobe hit all five of his shots to score 15 points in the final 3:15 of the game, leading a magical comeback that fans may never forget.
Just when we thought we had seen it all from him, Kobe gave us a 60-point finale in one of the most memorable nights of his 20-year career.
While Kobe may have gotten old, reliving this performance and that night never will.