Today in sports history (2016), NBA legend Kobe Bryant ended his career, scoring 60 points against the Utah Jazz. This game was the end of an era as one of the greatest basketball players of all time was stepping away from the sport. The 37-year-old did what he did best in this game, and that was scoring the ball.
Bryant put up 60 points on 22/50 shooting from the field. Kobe Bryant also knocked down six three-pointers on 21 attempts. Nothing was as big in this game though as his clutch elbow jumper to give the Lakers a lead late in the game. Two free throws iced the victory for the Lakers. This game perfectly encapsulated Kobe. He is one of the greatest players of all time, and he left the hardwood putting on one of his greatest games.
Kobe Bryant Left Behind an Incredible Legacy
Growing up in the 2000s, Kobe Bryant was NBA basketball. Bryant poured his heart and soul into every game that he played. This was proved by his five championships and one MVP. Bryant set the record for the longest career with one team, as he was a Laker for 20 years. In a stacked 1996 draft class, that included Allen Iverson, Steve Nash and Ray Allen, Bryant was undoubtedly the greatest player from that draft.
Bryant was noted for always giving top effort and demanding the same out of his teammates. This obviously rubbed some the wrong way, including Shaquille O'Neal. Shaq and Kobe formed the greatest duo in NBA history and won three titles around the turn of the century. With two of the biggest names in the sport's history, O'Neal and Bryant butted heads more than once. O'Neal eventually left for Miami where he won a championship. Bryant then proved that he did not need Shaq to be successful, winning two more championships with Pau Gasol as his number two man. One of the championships came against Boston.
Outside of basketball, Kobe was as much of a coach as he was a player on the floor. He often coached his daughters' teams and brought them to games. Many people look to Bryant as why women's basketball has seen an uptick in both players and fans recently.
Bryant finished his NBA career with 33,643 points (25 per game), one MVP, five championships and two Finals MVPs. He was a two-time scoring champion, 18-time All-Star and 11-time All-NBA First Team. Bryant is one of the greatest players in basketball history and will go down in the history books as one of the most influential players. With that, we say thank you Kobe Bryant. Rest in Peace.