Kobe Bryant officially retired after playing in his last game on Wednesday, April 13, 2016 to a packed Staples Center. The audience was star studded with celebrities that included Jay Z, Kendrick Lamar, Brian Austin Green, Adam Levine and of course L.A.’s honorary Laker Jack Nicholson. They all came out to celebrate the phenomenal career of the man they affectionately call, The Black Mamba. At the start of the 2015-2016 basketball season, the 37 year old announced to the world he would be hanging up his jersey for good. "A decision like this, you can't make that decision based on outside circumstances. It has to be an internal decision, and finally I've decided to accept that I can't actually do this anymore, and I'm OK with that,” Bryant said in a statement to the media.
Bryant led the Lakers to five NBA championships during his 20 year career, and if that wasn’t enough, he made history as one of only four players to score 25,000 points, 6,000 rebounds and 6,000 assists. Kobe has also received an NBA MVP award as well as 2 Olympic Gold medals. As one of the most prolific players to step foot on a basketball court, Kobe Bryant without a doubt will go down in the history books as one of the greatest to have ever done it. As a future Hall of Famer, I’m sure the name Kobe Bryant will be spun around barber shops, locker rooms and basketball courts as a standard for excellence in basketball for many years to come. An article on ESPN.com stated that sells for Kobe Bryant merchandise went through the roof at the Staples Center the night of his final game. Net sales of 1.2 million were reported setting a record for the most sold in industry merchandise.
Wednesday night’s game will forever be emblazoned in the minds of fans with Bryant scoring an unforgettable 60 points against the Utah Jazz. A feat that set yet another record for being a player his age making that many points in one game. Joining him in this farewell occasion was his wife of 15 years Vanessa, and his daughters Natalia and Gianna. Also in the building was former team mates Derek Fisher, Rick Fox, Shaquille O’Neal, Lamar Odom who Bryant immediately ran over and gave hugs to after the final buzzer. It appeared to be an emotional night for him and rightfully so, as he told his now former teammates before he exited, “I gave my soul to this game,” he continued “If you don’t give all you got you’ll regret it." The L.A. Times quotes Kobe as saying, “I can’t believe it’s come to an end,” Bryant told the fans. “You guys will always be in my heart.”
By Lisa Mack~
By Lisa Mack~