In case you missed it, on Wednesday, April 13, Kobe Bryant ended his career with an exclamation point, scoring 60 points during the Lakers’ 101-96 victory over the Utah Jazz. In November, the Black Mamba announced his retirement with an emotional nod to the game via the Player’s Tribune. So, it’s no surprise that when the day came to say goodbye to the legend, the tributes would roll in.
The latest, which debuted during Bryant’s royal send-off, features former teammates as they pay tribute to the basketball superstar. The video includes everyone from Rick Fox, to Shaquille O’Neal, Lebron James, Paul Gasol, and Trevor Ariza. Highlights include words from Lamar Odom, who shared seven seasons with Bryant from 2004 to 2011 before being traded to Dallas. “Bean, what’s up. It’s your little brother LO. I just want to tell you I love you. You had a great career,” Odom said in the clip, which aired at the Staples Center prior to the game. “I’m proud to say I was right with you, Kobe Bean.”
Meanwhile, Robert Horry admitted many of his favorite Kobe memories involved times the five-time NBA champion simply passed him the ball. Brian Shaw also chimed in with a memorable account detailing a time when Bryant once passed up a chance to score 70 points against the Mavericks, only to score 81 points against the Raptors just three weeks later.
Overall, the sentiment of the night was celebration over Bryant’s work ethic and overall impact on the NBA. As former L.A. Lakers player Earvin “Magic” Johnson Jr. put it: “We are here to celebrate [Bryant’s] greatness for 20 years and excellence for 20 years,” Johnson told the roaring crowd. “Kobe Bryant has never cheated the game, he has never cheated us as the fans, he has played through injuries, he’s played hurt, and we have five championship banners to show for it. When you think about this town for the last 20 years, this man has been the biggest and greatest celebrity we’ve had in this town for 20 years.”
As for what’s next, Bryant revealed in a press conference before the game that he’s looking to “find a new routine.” Although he was tight-lipped regarding the details, we only anticipate good things from the NBA superstar. In the meantime, share your favorite Kobe memory in the comment section below.
— Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) April 14, 2016