Mamba for life! Kobe Bryant led the L.A. Lakers to a win during his final NBA game at the city’s Staples Center on Wednesday, April 13. The basketball superstar ended his legendary career on a high note, scoring 60 points to help his team beat the Utah Jazz with a score of 101 to 96.
The electrifying match marked Bryant’s 1,346th game in the NBA. The 18-time All-Star was drafted in 1996 and played for the Lakers for two decades.
Bryant, 37, gave a heartfelt speech to the crowd following the game on Wednesday night. “I can’t believe how fast 20 years went by. This is crazy. This is absolutely crazy,” he said, standing at center court. “I grew up a die-hard Laker fan. I knew everything about every person that’s ever played here. Being drafted and being traded to this organization and to spend 20 years here, I mean, you can’t write something better than this.”
“I’m more proud of the fact that — not about the championships — but about the down years, because we didn’t run. We played through all that stuff and we won our championships and we did it the right way,” he continued. “Thank you all for the years of support. Thank you guys for all the motivation. Thank you for all the inspiration.”
Bryant announced in November 2015 that he would retire after this season. He said that his heart and mind could handle the game, but his body knew that it was time to hang up his No. 24 jersey.
“This has been absolutely beautiful. I can’t believe it’s come to an end,” he said on Wednesday. “You guys will always be in my heart and I sincerely appreciate it.”
Watch Bryant’s farewell speech in the video above.
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