Remember the great debate going into last night? If you had your choice, where would you rather be? In Oakland watching the Warriors put up 73 and take down the 96 Bulls? Or in L.A. to see Kobe Bryant attempt to go legend one last time, in his last game ever? Maybe it’s because I’m an L.A. native, but even in the midst of the Lakers’ most miserable season ever, you had to take the Kobe ducats.
Even though the Warriors had a chance to make history, Kobe had the potential to absolutely rip the night from them. And that’s exactly what happened.
Look, you knew the Mamba would do something to close the show. And go out the way he came in. But there’s no way anyone saw that coming. 60 points on 50 shots, in 42 minutes, in a comeback win, from a busted up 37-year old.?! That’s impossible.
Even from a guy as cold-blooded as Kobe Bryant. His 81 against Toronto was iconic. The 62 against Dallas in just three quarters was insane. But 60 in season 20 is straight GOAT material. Unthinkable. Unfathomable.
That’s Peyton Manning throwing for 600 yards in the Super Bowl to end his career. That’s Derek Jeter crushing four bombs in his last game ever. And that’s Kobe singlehandedly making all of us forget the most miserable Laker season of all time.
And if you say you knew that’s how it would go, you’re lying. No one knows more about hoops than the guys who set the lines in Vegas and they had his over-under at 21.5. Bryant had that by halftime.
And no, I couldn’t care less that he needed to jack it 50 times to get his 60. He could have thrown up 75 shots for all I care. In fact, I wish he had. Folks weren’t paying 10 grrr a ticket and tuning in worldwide to watch this guy facilitate and move the ball.
Jay-Z, Becks, and Jack weren’t there to see Roy Hibbert using smart footwork in the post or D’Angelo Russell run the pick-and-roll. They were there to see Kobe gun it. As much as he could. And he didn’t disappoint. In fact, he gave everyone exactly what they wanted. And then some. Most Laker fans would’ve been happy with 30 points for Kobe and a 20-point loss. Instead, he gave them 60 and a comeback win. A game between two sub-500 teams has never had more electricity than Staples did in the fourth quarter last night.
On any other night, throwing up 50 shots would have been absurd. But to not do so last night, would have been even worse. My man has never looked to facilitate and he sure as hell wasn’t going to start last night.
That’s exactly the way he had to go out. Jacking it up, imposing his will, emptying the tank and leaving absolutely everything he had out there. Oh, and winning. An unbelievable night and fitting end to a legendary career.
Nothing ever lives up to the hype. And that just smashed it. Mamba out.