Kobe Bryant ‘in shock’ himself after 60 points in final game
As his career winds down, Kobe Bryant sits down and reminisces with veteran basketball writer Steve Springer, sharing memories from throughout Kobe’s career with the Lakers. USA TODAY Sports.
Bryant looked likely to go out with a defeat at the end of a desperately poor Lakers season, with the team trailing the Utah Jazz by 10 points with just over two minutes to play at Staples Center on Wednesday night.
But then, in an extraordinary ending, he lifted the team on his shoulders one more time to lead the Lakers to an enthralling 101-96 triumph.
“It is hard to believe that it happened this way,” Bryant said. “I am still in shock about it. To be here, for it to happen like this in front of the fans and my teammates and their families … it is still a shock to me.”
As the end of his life in pro basketball closed in, Bryant made his final four shots, including a pull-up jumper with 31 seconds left to give the Lakers a lead they would never relinquish and four clutch free throws.
The Jazz, who led for most of the night, had no answer to the finishing burst. Bryant shot 22-for-50 from the field on the night, but made the ones that mattered.
Bryant admitted that keeping his emotions in check was the biggest challenge on a night where there was an ongoing stream of tributes remembering his career.
Magic Johnson introduced Bryant to the court, and countless friends and former teammates were in attendance.
Kobe Bryant finished off his legendary career with an epic 60-point performance. Go inside the numbers of his 20 years with the Lakers. USA TODAY Sports
As his career winds down, Kobe Bryant sits down and reminisces with veteran basketball writer Steve Springer, sharing memories from throughout Kobe’s career with the Lakers. USA TODAY Sports