The end of an era in professional basketball arrived Wednesday night, but Kobe Bryant had no intentions of going out quietly.
Bryant scored 60 points on 22-of-50 shooting Wednesday in the last game of his storied NBA career, single-handedly willing the Lakers to a 101-96 victory against the Utah Jazz at the Staples Center. The 20-year veteran scored 17 straight Los Angeles points in the fourth quarter to overcome a 10-point deficit, ending the night with the sixth 60-plus point game of his career.
Former Blue Devil Ryan Kelly replaced Bryant in the game's final seconds so that the shooting guard could receive one final standing ovation as he left the court for the final time in a game.
A couple of former Blue Devils—Utah head coach Quin Snyder and Jazz swingman Rodney Hood—were on the receiving end of Bryant's emphatic farewell, but many other players and coaches affiliated with the Duke program took to Twitter to congratulate Bryant on his big night—and the end of his career.
Bryant played on two of Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski's Olympic gold-medal USA Basketball teams and attended the Blue Devils' Sweet 16 loss March 24 in Anaheim, Calif., a short drive from Los Angeles. The Blue Devils have also received custom Nike Kobe sneakers in the past.
KOBE...60!!!!! Come on man! You can't write this!!!!!!!!!— Jeff Capel (@jeffcapel) April 14, 2016
Wow!! We all just witnessed greatness!! Wow! 60 points and win!!— Nolan Smith (@NdotSmitty) April 14, 2016
60. KOBE. Congrats to one of the best to ever play the game. Wow.— Jon Scheyer (@JonScheyer) April 14, 2016
Thank you Kobe— Grayson James Allen (@GraysonJAllen) April 14, 2016
Respect to KOBE #MAMBAOUT— Harry Giles III (@TheReal_HG3) April 14, 2016
KOBE KOBE KOBE KOBE. RiP DAD!— Quinn Cook (@QCook323) April 14, 2016
Up watching #KobesLastGame ...Think it's pretty cool first off how they sent him off. Everyone showed their utmost appreciation. He...— Gerald Henderson (@GhJr09) April 14, 2016
deserves it. When he's gone, he's gone....I think he took that mentality tonight. He went out with a bang. Figured he wouldn't have the...— Gerald Henderson (@GhJr09) April 14, 2016
chance again to play so why not play as hard as you can and out on a show? Pretty cool stuff....— Gerald Henderson (@GhJr09) April 14, 2016
I remember in 8th grade when I told my dad I wanted to go to college for basketball and play in the NBA. he said " okay who's your...— Gerald Henderson (@GhJr09) April 14, 2016
"...favorite player?" I said "Kobe" My pops went to the Sixers film guy and brought home a VHS tape of only Kobe clips. It was mostly...— Gerald Henderson (@GhJr09) April 14, 2016
...him handling the ball and attacking. Also using his athleticism to make plays around the rim. The tape was about 2 mins long. I watched..— Gerald Henderson (@GhJr09) April 14, 2016
...study him the same way. Stayed up late and watched all his games. Watching tonight, in the first quarter when he scored 5 straight fgs...— Gerald Henderson (@GhJr09) April 14, 2016
I realized like damn this is the last time I'll be able to turn on the tv and watch him. He played a huge role in my upbringing...— Gerald Henderson (@GhJr09) April 14, 2016
...and how I learned the game and my game in particular. Thanks @kobebryant for giving me someone to watch! I didn't really know u but...— Gerald Henderson (@GhJr09) April 14, 2016
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