Kobe Bryant ended his illustrious NBA and Laker career on Wednesday night in a way that only he could. Bryant scored 60 points on 50 shots, and he came up big in the fourth quarter when the Lakers needed it the most. Despite not being the player he once was, Kobe put on a show for the Staples Center crowd and gave them one last memory.
Before the game, Laker legend Magic Johnson addressed the fans and called Bryant the greatest Laker of all time. Kobe holds franchise records in many very meaningful categories including most points, games played, field goals made and minutes.
However, after the 60-point explosion, Kobe told the media in his final press conference that he does not consider himself as the greatest. In his eyes, Magic Johnson is still the most decorated player to suit up for the purple and gold.
Kobe's reaction to Magic saying pre-game that he was the best Laker to wear purple & gold: "I refuse to believe it b/c Magic is my hero."
— Serena Winters (@SerenaWinters) April 14, 2016
Kobe Bryant on his Lakers fandom: “I used to wear really big knee pads because Magic used to wear knee pads.”
— Ryan Ward (@Lakers_Examiner) April 14, 2016
Although Bryant has had the more productive career, many will point to the impact Johnson made to the game as a whole and the community around when evaluating his career. Nevertheless, both will go down as all-time NBA greats, and the franchise has been spoiled by all the success they have brought.
Bryant and Johnson guided two different generations of Lakers basketball to the highest level. Now that Kobe will leave the game once and for all, the team needs another star to carry the torch.
These two men did all they could for the Lakers, and it is now time for another player to do the same.