Los Angeles Lakers: 3 Lessons from Kobe Bryant’s final game

(Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images)
(Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images) /
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Los Angeles Lakers
(Photo by: Nick Agro/E! Entertainment/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images) /

Shaquille O’Neal actually challenged Kobe Bryant to score 50 points in this game. Like Kobe EVER listened to Shaq!

Unbeknownst to anybody at the time, it seemed that Shaquille and Kobe had a conversation about what O’Neal expected from Kobe in his last game. On ESPN’s SportsCenter after the event, it seems that Shaq challenged Bryant to go out and score 50 points.

Now to put this in perspective, Kobe at this time is in his 20th and final year in the NBA. In this era of “Load Management” there is so much talk about LeBron James and his workload in his 17th season. Sure it’s his last game, Bryant can put up some shots, shoot like 9 for like 35 and finish with 22 points in a Jazz blow out. This is the going rate for NBA players about to retire. Let’s just be polite and watch the game and hope it’s not like Willie Mays in a Mets uniform or Frank Sinatra on stage trying to sing while his voice is shot.

Then there’s this dude.

There are games that will always be talked about in NBA history. The kind of games that talked about in the barber shops, the street corners and in gyms after games of pickup.

  • Wilt Chamberlain scoring 100 points in a single game.
  • Michael Jordan goes for 63 in the Boston Garden.
  • Kobe Bryant scoring 81 points. Dude has a ton of asterisks on this list.
  • Larry Bird’s steal of the Isiah Thomas pass in the NBA playoffs. 
  • LeBron James finally ending the Boston hold on his title runs with his dominant display in the Garden.
  • LeBron James with the block in the 2016 NBA Finals in Game 7.

But all of these events happened somewhat in their primes. But this was the last game of a career here.

Kobe Bryant shot the ball 50 times (22-50) and finished with 60 points, grabbed 4 rebounds and dished out 4 assists. In a NBA game, shooting the ball put a ton of strain on a shoulder. Here’s the kicker, Kobe shot the ball 21 times from the land of the extra point. Okay he hit six. So what, everybody handed him the ball, someone has to shoot it.

Kobe Bryant finished his career with 33,643 points in his career. None of them brought chills to an entire arena like the last 60 did.

After the game, you got to see the evolution of Kobe Bryant. On this night, he allowed the entire world to enjoy his retirement party. His beautiful family was there and little Gianna was going crazy on the sidelines cheering her father on.

His wife, Vanessa blew him a kiss and he smiled and winked back. Anyone that has played a basketball game no matter where (gym, outside courts, backyards etc.) always wanted to put on a show in front of their girlfriend, wife or any family members. We can all relate to that.

Kobe got a chance to show off in front his lady in front of the world. This night was meant for Kobe, someone who can create things on a court the world only dreams of.

After the game he spoke in so many languages in his press conference. Most players you can’t understand them when they talk English.

From a 17-year-old kid, that couldn’t relate to anyone on his team or in the NBA, he communicated with planet Earth in 48 minutes of basketball. Especially the last three minutes.

Look the rest of the Lakers didn’t do much. Let’s talk about Gordon Hayward.