Tributes Pour In For Kobe Bryant

Wednesday, also known as Mamba Day, marked Kobe Bryant’s final NBA game. The Los Angeles Lakers star played one last time, winding down his 20-year career with a game against the Utah Jazz at the Staples Center.

The playoffs were not at stake — the lowly Lakers were never in contention for a spot this season, and the Jazz were eliminated shortly before tipoff — but that didn’t stop Bryant from scoring 60 points and helping the Lakers to a 101-96 win. This was the sixth time in his career that Bryant scored 60 points.

After the game, Bryant told the crowd, “To be drafted and then traded to this organization and then to spend 20 years here, you can’t write something better than this. All I can do here is thank you guys. This has been absolutely beautiful. I can’t believe this comes to an end. What can I say? Mamba out.”

Basketball fans have mixed feelings on Bryant. Those in the L.A. area love him, and across the rest of the U.S., many despise him. Fellow Nike-sponsored athletes shared their thoughts on Bryant in a video released earlier this week, and golfer Tiger Woods may have put it best: “In 29 other arenas, he’s hated.”

In another short film that Nike put out on Wednesday, this one called “The Conductor,” the love-hate message surrounding Bryant is abundantly clear. Bryant stands in front of a crowd that sings about how much they don’t like him, with an appearance by Bryant’s former coach Phil Jackson on the piano. Still, there is a respect for the player who won five NBA championships, had 18 appearances in the NBA All-Star Game and 81 points scored in one game.

The hashtag #MambaDay has been trending on Twitter, with many athletes, NBA stars and even Kanye West sharing their thoughts on Bryant.

Plenty of athletes also shared special moments with Bryant on Instagram.

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#MambaDay … Salute to one of the best to ever do it.

A post shared by Damian Lillard (@damianlillard) on

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It was a dream #MambaDay

A post shared by Nick Young (@swaggyp1) on

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#MambaDay 60 tho 👀

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Honoring a legend #mambaday #justdoit @nikecourt

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The Nike Kobe 11 Mamba Day iD shoe went on sale on Nike.com right at tipoff on Wednesday, and it is still available for a limited time.

Nike has also put a Bryant-signed Black Mamba Pack, which encompasses all 13 shoes Bryant wore during his career, up for sale on eBay. Proceeds benefit the Kobe and Vanessa Bryant Family Foundation.

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