When Kobe Bryant took the floor for the final game of his incredible career, fans knew it was going to be something special.
But no one would have ever predicted that it would become one of the most amazing moments in the Los Angeles Lakers illustrious history. In his swan song, Bryant put on a display for the ages, scoring 60 points in a comeback win against the Utah Jazz.
On this episode of the Lakers Nation Show, they get together on the four-year anniversary of Bryant’s retirement to discuss what it was like watching his final performance unfold. After spending two decades enjoying his exploits in purple and gold, it was only fitting that they spend time adding context to his last game.
The game itself played out like a microcosm of Bryant’s career with a slow start eventually giving way to a finish that fans will never forget.
As a rookie, Bryant launched multiple airballs in the 1997 NBA playoffs against the Jazz, but remained unfazed and went on to become one of the greatest players of all-time. His final game started the same way with some bad misses as the usually unflappable Bryant looked to settle his nerves. From there, he locked in and came out to thrill fans one more time.
As the game went on, it was apparent that he was giving Lakers fans everything he had left. After doing all he could to stay on the floor in the months leading up to the end, Bryant completely emptied the gas tank in a way that fans haven’t seen before. He gutted out his last performance and created an unforgettable moment that will be treasured forever.
After celebrating Bryant, they dig into what has been revealed about the NBA’s plan to return to the court. With the season suspended due to the coronavirus (COVID-19), the NBA has put together a plan of how to get players back up to game condition once they are told that it’s safe to do so. That’s been a concern of many players and trainers, who have been away from their practice facilities for over a month now. Trying to ramp things back up too quickly could increase the risk for injury, so it’s important that a plan be in place to gradually ease them back into top-level competition.
Finally, while the effort was appreciated, ESPN’s HORSE competition fell flat. What can be done in the future to provide entertainment while fans wait for the NBA to return?