For a moment on Wednesday night, Los Angeles Lakers fans forgot it was 2016.
Lakers fans forgot about the recent injuries that left Kobe Bryant out for much of the final years of his career. They forgot about the young team of misfits that had won just 16 games this season. They forgot their team hadn’t been to the playoffs since 2013.
They were witnessing Vintage Kobe. The guy from 2010 that led the Lakers to a vengeful NBA Finals victory over the Celtics. The guy that won five championships and two after the departure of Shaq. The guy who dropped 81 on the Raptors like it was nothing. That guy showed up to play at the Staples Center on Wednesday night.
It just happened to be the final game of his career.
After an emotional pregame ceremony, Bryant got off to a cold start, but slowly began to heat up, accelerating that point total each quarter. Late in the game he reached 30, then 40 and quickly 50, even when everyone on defense knew he was getting the ball and taking the shot. But the stats don't tell the whole story.
It was one hell of a game too.
Kobe led a 14-point comeback in the fourth quarter, helping his team pull to within one and take the lead in the final minute.
Kobe clutch 3-pointer makes it a 1 point game pic.twitter.com/Y6AG0GU7oA
— gifdsports (@gifdsports) April 14, 2016
There was no way he was missing those late shots.
The Lakers took the lead on this jumper from Kobe:
Bryant would hit two foul shots to close things out and reach the 60-point mark (the sixth 60+ game of his career), finishing the game 22-of-50 from the field. Seriously, who the hell finishes their career with a 60-point game?
Kobe wrapped up the win with a full-court pass to Jordan Clarkson. That's when the celebration began.
— CatcherInTheRiley (@iClumsyNinja) April 14, 2016
After being called a ball hog his entire career, Kobe's final play was an assist. That's the most unbelievable statistic of the night.
Kobe chose not to speak before the game, but afterward he addressed the crowd and ended with an actual mic drop (it was a soft mic drop, the kind where you don't want to be a d*ck to the technical crew).
Whether you love him or hate him, nobody can say Kobe Bryant wasn’t a legend. He wanted to do it all, and often times he did. The Black Mamba ended his career in the most legendary way possible. Nothing short of a championship would have been more special than this.
Watch every made basket from Kobe's 60-point farewell below: