Kobe Bryant’s career finale was essentially the result of taking every stereotype of his career to it’s furthest extreme. The Los Angeles Lakers legend put up 60 points on 50 shots to beat the Utah Jazz in a legendary walk-off game, but according to Bryant, the plan wasn’t for his final outing to be such a spectacle.
Bryant sat down with Baxter Holmes of ESPN to take a fun look back at the last game of his career, and in the must-read piece, he revealed that what some would call hogging the ball was actually his way of being altruistic.
He just wanted to save his young teammates from the wrath of thousands of angry Kobe fans.
"After the first couple minutes, I was like, 'Oh, s---,'" Bryant told Holmes. "It became apparent really, really quickly that this night was not going to go down with me just playing OK. It was either going to have to be an epic one or the worst one ever, because they were just going to keep throwing me the damn ball and the crowd wanted me to shoot every time -- almost to the point where I felt bad for my teammates, because if they took a shot, the crowd was ready to boo. So it was like, 'Oh, s---. I gotta go.'"
Go Bryant did, in an unforgettable performance that any basketball fan could appreciate. Although probably not as much as his young teammates, who not only got courtside seats to a legendary night, but also didn’t have to deal with the wrath of an angry mob.
I wasn’t kidding about Holmes’ piece being must-read. Go check out the whole thing here.