The Day Kobe Bryant Walked Away From The Game
Two decades ago, the world witnessed a scrawny kid from Lower Merion High School, Philadelphia said in a cocky tone, “I’ve decided to skip college and take my talent to the NBA”. That high school kid, Kobe Bryant, is now 37 years of age and about to play his final game.
Kobe Bryant, number 24, aka The Black Mamba, this is a tribute to you on your final game.
Because you have decided to call it a day. To ride off into the sunset. And begin a new life sans basketball.
Kobe Bryant – One Last Time On the Court
13.04.16 @ The Staples Center, Los Angeles.
The very last time we are bedazzled by your on-court brilliance.
The world salutes you and wishes you well.
Today, you will play your final game.
After this glorious day, the world probably will no longer be able to watch your wizardry on the parquet floor.
What remains forever are memories of your brilliance and greatness . . .
A Letter to Kobe Bryant: From a Legend to a Legend
And who better to pen a heartfelt farewell than our revered Hall of Famer Magic Johnson . . .
For 20 years, I’ve watched you dominate the game of basketball. From the Great Western Forum to the world famous Staples Center, you have dedicated your life to becoming one of the greatest players this game has ever seen. Through your commitment to success, outstanding work ethic, and winning attitude, each year you perfected your abilities beyond expectation.
You are an example to your teammates and fans all over the world through your extraordinary achievements on the court and extensive philanthropic efforts off the court. As a 5-time NBA champion, 18-time NBA All-Star, NBA MVP and 2-time Finals MVP, you led your team by example and showed them how to achieve greatness. As a 15-time member of the All-NBA Teams, and a 12-time member of the All-Defensive Teams you continued to over-deliver, but it didn’t stop there. You earned the 2nd greatest scoring performance in the NBA with 81 points in a single game and became 3rd on the NBA All-Time scoring list, forever etching your name in NBA History.
Every night you played, I couldn’t wait to watch knowing that I would witness an unbelievable shot or move that I had never seen on the court. I marveled at the skills and loved the energy you brought to the game wearing that purple and gold uniform. You never disappointed the city, Laker fans, and basketball fans worldwide. All you cared about was winning games and championships and that’s why so many people love you.
You will join a legendary list of Laker greats and Hall of Famers. Their jerseys hang proudly from the rafters in Staples Center and soon yours will shine next to them; from Gail Goodrich, Jerry West, Elgin Baylor and Wilt Chamberlain to Kareem Abdul Jabbar, Jamaal Wilkes, James Worthy and Shaquille O’Neal.
Very few people have changed the game of basketball but you will be recognized as one of them alongside my “Dream Team” teammates, Larry Bird and Michael Jordan.
I’ve enjoyed every minute of your career. Thanks for all the fantastic memories. There will never be another Kobe Bryant!
Earvin “Magic” Johnson, Chairman and CEO of Magic Johnson Enterprises
Epilogue: A Storybook Ending
It was a storybook ending indeed.
In a 101-96 win over the Utah Jazz, this is Kobe Bryant’s final stat line:
42 minutes played, shot 22-50 from the field, shot 6-21 from 3-point range, made 10-12 free throws, pulled down 4 rebounds, tallied 4 assists, had 1 steal and 1 block.
He had 60 points. That sums up his 1,346th regular season game. And Kobe Bryant rides off into the sunset with 33,643 career points. A fitting way to close out his storied 20-season NBA career.
Thank you for the memories, Kobe Bean Bryant. Happy retirement. We are going to miss you.