LA Lakers basketball superstar Kobe Bryant has won two Olympic Gold medals and been named an NBA all-star eighteen times. And now, he has shot his last NBA basket. Bryant played his last professional basketball game on April 13, and what a way to say goodbye!
Kobe Bryant began playing basketball with the Los Angeles Lakers when he was seventeen years old. He was straight out of high school, and he played with the Lakers for his entire twenty-year career.
In an interview with Sports Illustrated Kids, Kobe Bryant talked about how it felt to play against adult players right out of high school. “I wanted to talk about Star Wars and stuff while they wanted to talk about other grown folk stuff that I really had no interest in,” Kobe recalled. But the seasoned LA Lakers players were impressed by Bryant’s skill, and soon he was winning friends—and games.
Kobe Bryant’s last basketball game was a great way to end a superstar career. He scored 60 points in the game, and almost half of them were scored in the last quarter! No other player in the history of the NBA has ever scored more points than 60 in their final game. Bryant’s top-notch plays helped the Lakers beat the Utah Jazz 101 to 96. He also set another record that night: the most shots taken by any player in an NBA game in the last 30 seasons.
Kobe Bryant announced his retirement back in November. He shared a poem he wrote, called “Dear Basketball,” that was published on The Players Tribune. In the poem, he talked about how much he loved the game, and how he would miss it. The poem starts like this-
From the moment
I started rolling my dad’s tube socks
And shooting imaginary
In the Great Western Forum
I knew one thing was real:
I fell in love with you.
Kobe Bryant may be retired, but he hasn’t slowed down. He spent the first day of his retirement waking up early—to go work out!