Los Angeles Lakers superstar Kobe Bryant wound back the clock, scoring 60 points in the final game of a glittering 20-year career.
Bryant’s performance in front of a sold-out crowd at the Staples Centre in Los Angeles helped his side defeat the Utah Jazz 101-96.
He put his stamp on the game in the fourth quarter, scoring 35 points to help his side overturn a 10-point deficit. He produced a three-pointer, a field goal, two free throws and an assist in the final minutes.
Kobe posted this on his Facebook page after the game: “Last night was the final chapter to an incredible story. I walk away at peace knowing my love for the game & this city will never be broken.”
In the pre-game tribute, his former team-mate Shaquille O’Neal, who shared three championship wins with Bryant, called him “the greatest Laker ever”.
Another former Laker, Magic Johnson, said at the tribute that he had admired what Bryant had done for the team. “He has played hurt, and we have five championship banners to show for it.”
Bryant’s NBA career spanned 1346 games including those five championship wins in 2000, 2001, 2002, 2009 and 2010.
In 2006, Bryant scored a career-high 81 points against the Toronto Raptors. (The record of 100 points is held by the legendary Wilt Chamberlain.)
Kobe was voted an all-star 18 times, won two Olympic gold medals and was named the NBA’s Most Valuable Player in 2008. He recovered from a snapped Achilles tendon two years ago but announced early this year that this would be his last season.
#ThankyouKobe – Jesse Mullens
Photo of Kobe Bryant from the NBA Twitter feed.