Kobe Bryant came into the league as a shooter, and that’s how he left, wrapping up his NBA career with a 60-point performance.
In his final game, Bryant — wearing a black-and-gold iteration of his Nike Kobe 11 signature shoe — dropped 60 points in an unreal 22-of-50 shooting performance Wednesday night at the Staples Center in Los Angeles against the Utah Jazz. Bryant and the Lakers topped the Jazz, 101-96.
The five-time champion is the oldest player in NBA history to score at least 50 points in a game. But Bryant is accustomed to these types of performances; this was the fifth-highest-scoring game of his career, and his second 50-plus point game against the Jazz, beating his previous total of 52.
The stars came out to see Bryant play for the final time, including former teammate Lamar Odom, rap stars Jay Z and Kanye West, and soccer standout David Beckham. But one of the most profound celebrities to show up was former teammate Shaquille O’Neal, who had a well-publicized rough relationship with the 20-year Lakers guard. Even so, the legendary center had nothing but praise for Bryant, and was visibly shocked with his final performance after the game.
“I challenged him to get 50 and the m**********r got 60,” O’Neal told ESPN’s Rachel Nichols after the game.