Kobe Bryant Closed His Career with a Standing Ovation
LOS ANGELES — Soaked in sweat, Kobe Bryant enfolded his arms around his teammates and head coach, one by one, followed by the dozens of previous teammates that grouped nearby.
The Los Angeles Lakers superstar grasped the microphone after displaying a splendid performance in his last NBA game, and, standing at middle of court, he talked to sold-out Staples Center spectators that ware on their feet.
“Man!” Bryant uttered after claiming 60pts in a 101-96 victory against the Utah Jazz on this Wednesday to put a fantastic end to his marvelous 20-season NBA career, from start-to-end with the Lakers.
“You know, I can’t believe how fast 20 years went by. This is crazy. This is absolutely crazy.”
For his curtain call, Bryant offered his a real show. He earned his maximum points from 2nd Feb., 2009, when he claimed 61pts while playing at Madison Square Garden against New York Knicks.
The 5-time champion scored 60 plus points for the 6th time in an NBA game, this time siting a career-high for field-goal tries, exceeding his former high of 47 in 2002 tireless loss in Boston against Celtics.
Among 17pts of his team’s final, Bryant earned 15pts, counting in a go-ahead jumper with 31.6sec remaining. Like Michael Jordan, he made his career’s final 2 points with just 14 seconds behind, at free throw line.
The night ended with standing ovations, endless cheers and video tributes. Bryant expressed the fans that he admired the way they stood beside him in all of his career’s ups and downs. He stated how much it was important to him for only playing for the Lakers, the name he loved from his childhood.
“To be drafted and then traded to this organization and then to spend 20 years here, you can’t write something better than this,” Bryant voiced. He said that all he could do is to thank his fans. “This has been absolutely beautiful. I can’t believe this comes to an end.”
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Bryant said that he did not have words to explain what he felt for his fans. “Thank you, thank you from the bottom of my heart. God, I love you guys.”
Bryant acknowledged his two daughters and wife before ending his address.
“What can I say?” Bryant uttered with a big smile on his face. “Mamba out.”