In Kobe Bryant’s final game with the Lakers, champagne bottles were popped and confetti flickered through the air after the team defeated the Utah Jazz, 101-96, on Wednesday at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.
But one moment that was part of the conclusion to Bryant’s 20-year career didn’t happen on the court.
“The fact that he threw my Adidas and didn’t sign my Adidas, I was a little disappointed in that,” teammate Nick Young told reporters Thursday in a season-ending exit interview, recalling what happened in the locker room a night earlier.
“He could not end without something like that, so … I think he threw my shoes in the trash,” Young continued, “but yeah, that’s Kobe for you.”
Bryant — who has an endorsement contract with Nike — publicly promised to autograph sneakers to anyone who asked, so he gave Young an autographed pair of the label’s kicks and signed a score sheet instead.
Feeling starry-eyed, Young did not appear to be bothered when he posted a snap of the signature on Instagram, captioning the photo, “#MambaDay 60 tho 👀.”
Kobe’s new Nike 11 Mamba Day iD shoe was released on the night of his final bow. Previously he had a deal with Adidas during his rookie season.
Last year Young signed a sponsorship deal with Adidas.