5 years back, Kobe Bryant played his last-ever NBA game. In true Mamba fashion, he dropped 60 points when Shaq challenged him to score 50.
We haven’t seen a more influential player than Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant. For over two decades, the Black Mamba displayed his incredible work ethic and determination and managed to leave his millions of fans around the world, in awe. His illustrious career proves to us why Kobe is one of the all-time greats to grace the game.
Kobe was known for his ability to consistently knock down difficult shots and deliver in clutch moments. Very infamously Bryant is known for not passing the ball to his open teammates, instead, shooting the ball despite being double-manned or even triple-manned.
Back in 2016, Mamba had already announced his retirement after the end of the season. Coincidently, Kobe’s last ever game was played at the Staples Center, the arena where he night in and night out displayed legendary performances.
On April 13, Utah were the last opponents Bryant was ever going to be playing against. It was a celebration. Many celebrities including former NBA stars were present to witness something great come to an end.
Shaquille O’Neal, Bryant’s long-time teammate, had hilariously asked Kobe to score 50 points in the game. Kobe delivered in the most Kobe fashion. Bryant led the Lakers to an improbable 101-96 win while putting up an incredible 60-point outburst. For someone who “just didn’t want to play bad” in his last game, left the game in style.
In an interview following the game, Shaq revealed:
“I challenged him to get 50 and the motherf*** got 60.”
Never forget that time when Shaq challenged Kobe to drop 50 points instead he dropped 60 in his last game.
Shaq: “I challenged him to get 50 and the motherf***** got 60.” 😂😂 pic.twitter.com/M3KIrMjn57
— Lake Show (@LakeShowFamily) November 15, 2020
“It’s kinda crazy to me, it’s hard to believe that it happened this way”: Kobe Bryant on his farewell
The 18-time All-Star is one of the purest scorers of all time. He had the ability to handing buckets to the defenders at his own will. For someone who had scored 81 points in a game, 62 points in just three quarters, and twenty-five 50-point games, it is not a surprise he ended his career with one of the greatest performances ever.
Even though no one, including himself, expected the Mamba to play his farewell game in such a manner, it wasn’t a big surprise knowing the dominant scorer he had been his whole career.
When asked to reflect on his own performance, Kobe couldn’t believe what had actually happened. In a postgame interview, the 6-foot-6 combo guard revealed:
“I can’t believe it’s actually happening to be honest with you. It’s kinda crazy to me. It’s hard to believe that it happened this way. Really is. I’m still in shock about it.”
— Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) April 13, 2021
It truly was a legendary career for the 5-time champion. The way he had impacted the game goes much beyond what the stats say. Having millions of fans around the world tell “Kobe” as they shoot a ball, shows us just how influential the Mamba was. Today, years after his retirement and his death, the legacy of Kobe Bryant will always continue to live on.