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Kobe Bryant says he played every moment as if it was his last

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The future Hall of Famer teared up during a heartfelt acceptance speech at Spike's "Guy's Choice Awards."

Kobe Bryant's work ethic made him a legend even among the countless workaholics in the NBA. His endless footwork drills, countless practice jumpers, and conditioning were all part of the cocktail that brought the Los Angeles Lakers their last five championships and made Bryant the NBA's third all-time leading scorer.

All of those accomplishments and more are why Kobe was named Spike TV's first ever Athlete of the Decade during their "Guy's Choice Awards," which were filmed this weekend but will air on Spike on Thursday, June 9th at 9:00 PM. When accepting the award, Bryant couldn't help but think back to the beginning.

"It's amazing how fast time flies. I can remember like it was yesterday arriving here in L.A. with the dream of being a Laker, and the dream of winning championships," said Bryant. "I can't believe I'm standing here in front of you guys with it all being over, but I can stand here extremely comfortable with the career that I've had, and I can look myself in the mirror and be comfortable with the fact that I worked as hard as I possibly could every single day."

Bryant choked up when thinking about all of that hard work, but continued to speak.

"I gave it my absolute all every single day I stepped out there, every moment I played as if it was my last."

Bryant's last moment ended up being an unforgettable 60 point performance against the Utah Jazz while one of the most raucous crowds in Staples Center history cheered him every step of the way. It was a perfect storybook ending for a guy who was simply dreaming of being a Laker 20 years ago.

You can watch the full video of Bryant's acceptance speech here (courtesy of Spike TV):

All transcripts via Spike TV. You can follow this author on Twitter at @hmfaigen.