Kobe Bryant had a lot of memorable moments throughout his NBA career with the Los Angeles Lakers. Although Bryant has a long list of unforgettable performances and milestone achieving moments, few can compare to his last game in a Lakers uniform.
In the last couple of months leading up to Bryant’s finale, the five-time NBA champion was trying to keep his body prepared for his final game at the Staples Center. Kobe dealt with injuries, soreness, and general fatigue throughout his last season with the Lakers, but nothing was going to prevent him from putting on a show against the Utah Jazz on April 13.
In a recent interview on SiriusXM NBA Radio, Kobe’s former teammate, Trevor Ariza, claims Bryant gave him somewhat of a heads up on what to expect during his last game. Ariza’s Houston Rockets were still hoping to clinch the final playoff spot in the Western Conference and needed the Jazz to lose to the Lakers. Apparently, Bryant assured Ariza that he’d take care of the Jazz, via Justin Termine:
Ariza told us on @SiriusXMNBA that Kobe told him prior to last game of yr to not worry about Rox getting into playoffs bc he'd take of Jazz.
— Justin Termine (@TermineRadio) July 21, 2016
Although the Jazz put up a fight and took the Lakers down to the wire in the regular-season finale, Bryant was a man possessed and determined to end his basketball career on a high note. Many expected Kobe to have a big night on the last day he’d wear a Lakers uniform with 30 or 40 points being dropped on the Jazz, but no one anticipated what transpired at the Staples Center that day.
Kobe Bryant dropped a season-high 60 points before walking off the Staples Center court for the last time. Bryant gave it his all in that final performance and as a result kept his word to Ariza although the Rockets were already playoff bound by that time.