Kobe Gives Fans One Last Memory with an Epic Farewell Game

Darius Soriano —  April 14, 2016

It is hard to think about it this way now after 20 years of amazing play that has made the sublime routine, but Kobe has built a career, no, a legend, off defying odds. It seems strange to say this about someone whose father was an NBA player and has the pedigree he does, but it’s true.

A prep-to-pros guard wasn’t supposed to make a successful jump from highschool to the NBA. He wasn’t supposed to be an All-Star so soon. He wasn’t supposed to be a champion. He wasn’t supposed to win without Shaq. Wasn’t supposed to come back from a torn achilles. Or a broken knee cap. Or a torn up shoulder.

And he sure as hell wasn’t supposed to score 60 points in the final game of his 20 year career.

But he were are. I guess after 20 years of turning impossible moments into expected ones, we shouldn’t be so surprised. Again, though, here we are.

Kobe provided us a night for the ages; he gave us a moment to seal away as ours forever. He turned a night which was supposed to be a sad one filled with teary-eyed goodbyes into a celebration filled with smiles and cheers and did I really just see that? reactions.

In other words, he was Kobe Bryant again.

I will remember this game for the rest of my life. It wasn’t a championship sealing win. There will be no parade down Figueroa. But the feeling of watching a player who has meant so much — to me as a person, to an organization, to a city, to so many fans around the world — was more than just a regular game.

It was one last glimpse into what made 20 years of watching him play such an event and reflective of how he, more often than not, seemed to understand how to turn those events into unforgettable memories. Kobe Bean Bryant. There will never be another quite like him. Goodbye, one last time.


Darius Soriano

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67 responses to Kobe Gives Fans One Last Memory with an Epic Farewell Game

  1. Well said, Darius. To add, I am just amazed at how perfectly his finale epitomizes his career, both the good and bad, but mostly the great.

    Always polarizing, and always captivating. His final moments captured his transcendent skill, competitiveness, stubbornness, aggressiveness, and hero ball.

    And of course, his penchant for hitting big shot after big shot to almost singlehandedly cr create a come from behind win.

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  2. I was hoping he’d get at least 40 in his last game, but I was resigned to the fact that the Lakers would lose and that he’d have an abysmal shooting night in the process. I was sort of watching the game with a sadness when the Lakers were down 14 and Kobe had a shooting percentage of around 25% or so, chucking 20 3s in the process.

    And then…

    Wow. He brings the team back by scoring 15 and assisting in the other and goes out with a win. Even with 50 shots, he ends up making 44% of them, which is right around his career average, and finishes the job with two free throws at the end – the free throws that earned him a spot as the closer in many Laker games even during Shaq’s prime, the free throws that got him to 81, the free throws he made after blowing his achilles…

    Poetic.

    It was also strangely foreboding that Magic started it off by saying he never cheated us fans. The very last game, he really gave the fans all they expected, and then some, because nobody in their mind would have expected him taking 50 shots and actually winning the game while making only a quarter of his 20ish 3 pointers.

    On a night when the Warriors reached their record in the most anti-climactic way possible, with the ruthless efficiency befitting the modern era of basketball, Kobe does his thing in the most climactic way, with the sort of ball that will likely go out with him, winning the game, and taking away the spotlight from a history 73-9 run.

    The league will miss having Kobe as its scapegoat, attention-grabber, and his ability to wrest attention away from things when he wants to.

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  3. I don’t think it ever really hit me how big a part of my life Kobe Bryant has been – until last night.

    Kobe was draftraded to the Lakers the same year I turned 19. I had been a Lakers fan my entire life. I saw him play at The Forum. I’d love to be able to say that I saw then what he’d become, but I don’t think anyone but Kobe saw that for him.

    Over the years he’s been just another cocky kid I wasn’t sure if I liked, the guy who provided the hardworking counterpoint to Shaq’s more publicly mercenary attitude, the player that made fans deal with hard decisions about what it meant to support a player as they wrangled with dark issues, the petulant star demanding a trade, the redeemed champion, and then the fallen gladiator.

    Kobe has been a part of the Lakers for just over half of my lifetime. I may have grown up with Magic and Worthy as a kid, but Kobe has been the most important pillar of my favorite franchise for my entire adult life – meaning that he was the first great Laker that I got to see without innocence and with a working understanding of the game and what I was watching. I did not always like him or how he played, but I always appreciated that he was always playing hard.

    Kobe has not always been my favorite Laker – during the most recent championship years I’d say I was more of a fan of Gasol and Odom than Kobe – but he has been the most important. And last night as I watched the game draw to a close, that reality really settled in.

    I watched a 16-win team win a meaningless game on the back of a 37-year-old player who shot the ball 50 times – and I was cheering and clapping and nervous in a way that usually required a trophy to be at stake. Like Darius, I’ll always remember this game. This one, 81, Game 7 2010, Portland Double-OT 2004, “Bryant….to SHAQ”, 62…

    Thank you, Mr. Bryant, for the volumes of hard work. Thank you for the titles, the unforgettable moments, and…well…everything.

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  4. Matt R,

    You posted FOR me. I can’t do any better than what you said. I was 20 when Kobe was drafted. I grew up on Kareem, Magic and Worthy. Showtime was my childhood, then was the transition to the Lake Show team of the mid 90s, then the Phil Years Parts I & II, then the 2 Mikes, up to today.

    I felt the same way as you did about Kobe over the years.

    I spent 7 hours watching that coverage and the game last night rewatching interviews and even commercials (Phil’s singing voice!!!!!!!!!!!!). My voice is hoarse today from yelling. It felt like the old days….the WINNING days. It felt special. Absolutely EPIC.

    Still, hours into the day after, I remain blissfully agog…………

    Kobe Bryant set the bar for work ethic so high, I fear these new young guys can’t even see it.

    Thanks Kobe.

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  5. Well stated, Matt.

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  6. Thank you Kobe for the memories. What an amazing game to end a legendary career. He had his flaws as a player and as a person but even the haters have to respect his accomplishments and indomitable will. I thought it would have been fitting for him to retire immediately after the achilles free throws but this ending could not have been scripted any better. For me, this game alone redeems the gigantic contract and the suffering of the last three years. Live by the Kobe, die by the Kobe; today and forever we live.

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  7. I posted the following quote 6 days ago:

    “I would love to see Kobe score 50 points just one. more. time… for old times sake. Is that too much to ask? If all the stars align and all of his injuries subside for just a couple hours, it would be a beautiful exclamation point to an incredible career.

    On the other hand, watching Kobe fight through his final season, using every last drop he has left in the tank just to get on the court is probably a better representation of what Kobe’s career has been all about. However it ends, I’ll be savoring every minute he’s on the court.”

    — I did not think it would actually happen! but 60? Wow. Unreal. There have been two Laker games in the past 35 years that have made me cry like a baby, and neither were playoff games. The first was Magic’s final all star game and the second was last night’s masterpiece. I’ve never witnessed so much excitement, disbelief, joy, appreciation and love all rolled up into one in an NBA arena. In a career full of amazing moments, last night may have been my favorite Kobe moment. Thanks again Kobe for the memories and a shout out to all the Kobe haters for giving Kobe the fuel to gift us with moments like last night.

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  8. A Horse With No Name April 14, 2016 at 11:10 am

    I truly wonder what the Lakers are going to do about Byron. If you’re going to make a change, it has to happen today or tomorrow, I think.–Darius on Twitter

    I want it to happen as much as you do, but not sure why it has to happen right away. Please elaborate . . . .

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  9. Horse,

    There have been two reports in the last few days — both by well respected national reporters — which say the Lakers are unlikely to make a change. One of the reports mentions Jeanie by name as someone who is pushing to keep Scott. The other mentions “fractured ownership” as being too unstable to form a consensus on a change. If there is truth in these reports, my sense is any sort of waiting signifies leaning towards the team not making a change. Hence why I’m saying it would need to be today or tomorrow.

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  10. Still speechless

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  11. I should also add, it’s not about “wanting it to happen” for me. If he’s fired he’s fired, if they keep him, they keep him. I’ll analyze either scenario, should it occur. I think people who follow my writing know I do not believe Scott has done a particularly good job this year, though I think I have also been pretty open about the complexities he has faced as a coach this year. I’m not really the type to call for anyone’s job, but I do think there are reasons for him to not be the Lakers’ coach next year.

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  12. Unlike most of you guys, I was not born yet when Magic and Kareem retired. I was only a few years old when Kobe was drafted. When Jordan retired, forget it…I have no recollection at all. Kobe really is the Jordan or Magic of my time. So to witness that surreal finish to an unbelievable career was amazing and will stick with me forever.

    Thank you Robert for the Kobe Alerts. Thank you Kobe for all the memories. Future generations will look back and view him with the same reverence we view Michael.

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  13. I’ve seen many amazing things across the spectrum of pro sports over the years. Kobe’s performance last night ranks right up there with any of them. The courtside seats were filled with the rich and famous, a cross section of America’s glitterati. Folks that have accomplished astounding things in their respective fields of endeavor. Kobe turned them into wide-eyed witnesses for one night, as well as the rest of us in a world wide television audience. The man put on a show that I will cherish forever. One last performance for the ages.

    Farewell Kobe! I’ve always been a Lakers fan and always will be, but it won’t be the same without you.

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  14. Kobe surely saved the best for last !

    On his final game he was no longer the 37 year old with the repaired achilles tendon, but the Kobe of 2009.

    Though I am relieved that a new era will finally begin, I must give a heartfelt thanks to Kobe for all he did for the franchise !

    Domo Arigato Gozaimasu, Kobe San, anata no ichiban desu !

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  15. A Horse With No Name April 14, 2016 at 11:59 am

    Okay Darius, gotcha. I’m thinking if it happens it will be after the ping pong balls or even after the draft. Lakers have always done things on their own timeline, sometimes maddeningly so.

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  16. On Byron, listening to him in during the pre- and post-game interviews gave me a better appreciation for how much respect, admiration, love he has for Kobe. I guess it helps me understand his handling of/deference to Kobe a little more. I think this year was more about Kobe than the Lakers in terms of priorities, and the things that drove me crazy were inevitable given Byron’s sentiment and Kobe’s personality. The KFT must have been a challenge to manage around, so maybe, possibly, to some extent, we haven’t seen what Byron can really do unencumbered by Kobe’s last year (I fully acknowledge that could be even worse).

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  17. If the Laker’s ownership is too unstable to decide what to do about a coach, no amount of lottery picks will help this team.

    Hope its not true, but if true would confirm my very worse fears about my favorite team.

    Kobe came around at the right time, and he’s leaving at the right time for a number of reasons.

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  18. TempleOfJamesWorthy April 14, 2016 at 12:39 pm

    I note some of the other posters on this forum have similar ambivalence about Kobe’s career as I do, and I wonder if some of the difference of opinion between us and the more enthusiastic Kobe supporters is generationally driven.

    My Lakers hero growing up was Magic Johnson who had a very different more team-oriented approach to basketball than Kobe Bryant did. I think some of us appreciate the talent and accomplishments of Bryant, but wish he could have understood team dynamics and chemistry the way Magic (and some other NBA greats) did.

    For those who missed the Showtime era, Kobe’s accomplishments stand on their own without the backdrop of the Magic Johnson-era, so younger fans don’t share that sense of “Yeah, but how great COULD Kobe have been had he shared Magic’s team-oriented approach…”

    Regardless, congratulations to Kobe on an amazing career and for contributing to some truly epic Lakers memories (esp. Game 7 2002 WCF vs. Kings, Game 82 of 2004 season vs. Portland, Game 4 of 2009 Finals vs. Magic, Game 7 of 2010 Finals vs. Celtics).

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  19. Working in Santa Cruz, studying at the university, I was worried I wouldn’t get the chance to see this game on a night when 73-wins was going to happen. With all the Warriors jerseys here, with a culture that will hold rape charges and homosexual slurs against a man who exemplifies a style of basketball that many view as selfish and ugly, I was worried I’d not get to watch Kobe’s final game. If I was, I thought I might have to put my Lakers-fan shield on. Its a shield I’ve felt blessed to wear for 30 years and while living in cities with grudges to hold against our team. Last night felt more personal. A man feels his age when working among people in their early twenties, people who were infants when I first watched this all-time great player earn his first dollar playing this game I love. KCAL Summer League telecast, I remember where I was. San Diego, my first apartment, my first live in girlfriend, my first home away from family… I remember the air balls as capstone to that season. My grandma is gone now but Kobe to Shaq, I saw at her house with two cousins and five friends, two of whom I’ve lost touch with. Over son stepping over Lue, that was at a New York bar on the Lower-Eastside. Kobe-drive, Shaq try to tip back, Vlade to Horry, that was at an Irish bar in New York. .4 seconds was in a buddy’s apartment in Beijing on the CCTV4 feed. The pass from Walton, dribble to the far side top of the key, fadeaway dagger, that was El Cholos in Santa Monica. The Gasoline trade in my now defunct yogurt shop in NW Portland. Rings 4 and 5 in my apartment in PDX, with my kids watching my jumping in our living room. And all the games at The Great Western Form, at Staples, at MSG, at the Rose Garden, at the Spectrum… Against Iverson, Pippin, KG, Baron, Ak-47, B-Roy, CP3, Paul Peirce, Sheed, Brand, LO, LeBron, WebbeWade… With Shaq, Pau, LO, Mailman, Glove, Nick, Eddie, Elden, Rice, Harp, Grant, AC, Rodman, Fish, Drew, Machine, Luke, Richmond, Horry, Fox… 20 years is a lot to remember and I felt all those memories last night. And I didn’t need to put my shield on. The Warriors fans respected my need to clap for those memories. There were some 8 jerseys and some 24s. There were claps and cheers. One TV, the bigger one, had 73 wins showing. The other had the Kobe show on and I even got some high fives and pats on the back when my eyes went misty. It was nice to show my Kobe love with respectful advisaries. It was good to watch with Kobe fans. Thank you Kobe

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  20. I missed seeing Kobe’s rookie year due to some work I was doing that kept me away from television most of 1996 and 1997, but I got my first glimpse of him on a December 1997 night against the Rockets at the Forum.

    I’d asked my mom to get the tickets a few weeks prior, hoping to see Shaq as a Laker for the first time, going up against Hakeem. Neither played, but instead I was treated to a then-career high night for Kobe as he went for 27 points, largely in garbage time. Little did I know what additional magic he’d provide over the next two decades.

    Last night ranks among the best ever, right there with the 2010 Game 7 vs. Boston; his Game 4 coming out party against the Pacers in 2000; his annihilation of the Spurs in 2001; and the gold medal game in Beijing, when Kobe showed he was clearly the best player on the planet.

    As he said, who knew 20 years could go by so fast? Thanks for the memories, KB.

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  21. Tojw, completely agree with you. Older heads like us prefer guys like magic who played within the team concept. Kobe was an amazing talent best bad shot taker & maker ever but I much rather see passes to open guys for lay ups or wide open 3’s.

    If lakers lose the top 3 pick, I’m sure Byron will be back for another year of tanking since no impact free agents will be coming to this mess of an organization!

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  22. KevTheBold,

    ??????????????

    (Sorry for the japanese, all)

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  23. KevTheBold,

    Anata mo nihongo wo hanasemasu ka. Sugoi!

    (Again, for the japanese in romanji…)

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    • Renato, hai, sukoshi dake.

      You?

      Though it’s been decades, and I believe I scuffed it up.

      Was trying to say I was a huge fan, but left out the fan part.

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  24. One of the reports mentions Jeanie by name as someone who is pushing to keep Scott. The other mentions “fractured ownership” as being too unstable to form a consensus on a change.
    __

    I have said over and over again that current Lakers management is just treading water. The above statement is testament that the Lakers will not move forward until changes are made at the top. New leadership is needed.

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  25. I was a lakers fan since the twilight of Kareem’s career thanks to a PC game that featured Kareem and Magic, as well as Bruce lee movies. This was way back in 87-88 perhaps 89.

    I was an anti-Kobe fan, especially around Shaq’s departure but slowly warmed up to him and his 81 point game sealed it. That was also the day I found fbg. After that, Kobe’s shortcomings were like Shaq’s; you can’t be perfect (although Curry seems near perfect for the time being) and sure it was frustrating knowing that Kobe could pass and defend, but it got to a point where you just realize that if he did, he would be Lebron-lite with whatever insecurities that a layer like that would come with.

    The 2008 Olympics was probably another subtle turning point, where it almost seemed as if Kobe infused everyone with his work ethic and made the league’s superstars even more dangerous; especially LeBron. And that kinda validated Kobe and his attitude even more than the 81 point game, and soon he followed with two championships.

    In the end, Kobe is Kobe and he was truly a product of his time and this locale. I really can’t see him being appreciated and embraced like he was here anywhere else; so fitting that he spent 20 years here playing the way that he has.

    Could he have been “Better?” Sure. But that’s like asking Shaq to improve his free throw shooting and have him show up to camp in shape. Kobe wouldn’t have been Kobe if he was better that way. And I am not sure if that better Kobe would have been as compelling a narrative as the Kobe we had, the clickbait ESPN and others could rely on for traffic and the one name that could get people into arguments the way only he could.

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  26. One of the reports mentions Jeanie by name as someone who is pushing to keep Scott. The other mentions “fractured ownership” as being too unstable to form a consensus on a change.

    The Lakers are special. Kobe is special. The Buss kids are as un-special as can be. The future of the franchise is at stake and the Buss kids are paralyzed by infighting and instability.

    What a let down to have the high of last night wear off with the reality that Jeanie and Jim are in charge of the Lakers.

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  27. Thank you Kobe, for 20 years of amazing basketball. I can’t say enough about how much I enjoyed those championship years. Thank you, Thank you!

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  28. I already miss him. I don’t know where he ranks on the all time list but he’ll always be #1 to me.

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  29. Renato and the Dane,

    Did Kobe’s performance last night make news in Europe? Just wondering.

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  30. As others have mentioned, as a guy who thought Magic Johnson represented the epitome of what team oriented winning basketball was about it wasn’t always fun watching Kobe Bryant play. Still, I recognize when you are one of the few people in the history of the sport that is so good, have practiced so much that every shot taken you not only expect to make but are genuinely surprised when you miss, it’s hard to look at basketball holistically. Kobe had to spend a large chunk of career fighting the idea that any shot he took probably had a higher chance of going in then any shot any of his teammates took. Sure it was arrogant and full of hubris but it was mostly true!

    So in that sense Kobe’s basketball story is that of a Greek God constantly having to remind himself that he actually needed the mortal men around him to accomplish his goals. Kobe’s detractors and people that didn’t always love his game (like me) will hopefully recognize and appreciate how difficult that is for a basketball superman to occasionally play Clark Kent for the greater good.

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  31. It made the news but they didn’t give it the proper relevance since there were UEFA Champions League matches yesterday and, as you know, basketball is a distant second to football in Western Europe. The news were more about Kobe saying goodbye than the 60 points. Which is ridiculous and says much about sports journalism in Europe…

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  32. So many sentiments, so eloquently stated. Fun to read.

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  33. TempleOfJamesWorthy,

    I think you are spot on with the generational difference in Laker fans. I come from the same place as a number of us as having learned basketball watching Magic. He had an ego FOR SURE but he played a seemingly selfless TEAM FIRST game that will ALWAYS seem to me to be the way the game is supposed to be played.

    I would go one further to say that its a BMJ vs. AMJ sort of thing–as in BEFORE MJ and AFTER MJ—-MJ OF COURSE being Michael Jordan.

    Honestly, I thought Jordan was a ball hog most of the time. I thought Iverson was a ball hogging chucker as well. I thought this because I’m part of the Magic generation. I actually HAVE ALWAYS THOUGHT, from the original live viewing that the infamous Jordan switching hands layup over Perkins in the Finals that it was a totally unnecessary hot dog move. I always thought Perkins was out of the way by the time he did that crap and he could have just laid it in with his right hand EASIER.

    It was outright HERO BALL. The Showtime Lakers didn’t play ANY HERO BALL.

    Once Jordan came through, younger generations latched on to HIS GAME as the pinnacle of the way basketball is supposed to be played. From there, we have the ERA OF ISO BALL, with Kobe, Melo, AI, McGrady, etc. Now, we are seeing a NEW ERA that harkens back to the old days of BALL MOVEMENT and SHARED ACHIEVEMENT as opposed to one GOD LIKE PLAYER and his working minions.

    I respect Kobe’s game but I haven’t been his biggest fan.

    Jordan just changed the way people judge a great basketball player IMO.

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  34. Darius and Others,
    Out of respect for the other posters here who couldn’t post on other threads their thanks to Kobe and their feelings on last nights amazing game, I set out today to NOT even broach the topic of BYRON SCOTT until the savoring of what we all witnessed could be addressed here in FB&G without being diluted by commentary on other team issues.

    HOWEVER, there are several cats outta THAT bag by now (No disrespect to those who went there—I REALLY wanted to as well) so I will say that DARIUS is 100% right. The longer this thing lingers with BScott NOT being fired, the more its obvious that he’s staying.

    I can’t believe the Lakers think that Byron Scott will be a better coach next year. I can’t believe that they think that the best way to build this team with young talent and MAYBE ONE DAY, a quality FA addition is with Byron Scott at the helm. I can’t fathom that they are going to let all the good available options fill these other openings. Its as unreal as Kobe’s game last night that we will have Byron Scott and MORE OF THE SAME crap as this last year with the SAME tired old school coaches and the same TIRED, OUTDATED ideas.

    I TOTALLY agree with Darius that this HAS TO HAPPEN like….NOW and I am very VERY concerned that with every passing moment, with every ticking second, we are ever more likely to be STUCK with a really out of touch coach AGAIN trying to reach our young talent and attract Free Agents.

    Its a sickening feeling to know that this scenario is our reality now.

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  35. Those reports about the Buss family only confirm my deepest fears.

    I grew up on Magic and came of age with Jordan. The game changed with Jordan. And Kobe arrived on Jordan’s heals. We have to keep that in perspective. Jordan spawned an era of volume scoring guards. The media created a narrative that Jordan = greatness. So the more like Jordan a player was, the greater he was. Its only now starting to change. That is largely because of the impact of defensive rule changes.

    Kobe is as much a product of his time as any other player. Just as Shaq was not as graceful as Kareem, Kobe’s greatness was different from Magic’s greatness. At times Kobe’s approach would grate my nerves. But the results speak from themselves.

    I’m already missing Kobe. This isn’t just the end of the Kobe era. It is truly the end of the Dr. Buss era of the Los Angeles Lakers.

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  36. I grew up on the Showtime Lakers and I love Kobe Bryant. I don’t think it’s a generational thing as much as it’s “I like things the way I like them” thing.

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  37. Last night was a mythical game, by a mythical player.

    Like any Greek God, Kobe has his faults, but that is also why he is a god.

    I can’t think of any other comparable ending in sports that so epitomized the player.

    As an ardent Kobe fan, I also am one of the oldest posters here – and, of course, a great Wilt fan. I guess that says more about why I enjoy Kobe than does my age. I love it when the individual can make the system adjust to them – instead of the other way around. These individuals are never easy to deal with, but they are certainly worth the attention.

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  38. “I TOTALLY agree with Darius that this HAS TO HAPPEN like….NOW”
    And if it does not? Then what?

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  39. Now that the season is over — even though it’s been a tough season — without any Laker games, I fully expect to go into withdrawal in about a week.

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  40. You couldn’t have scripted it any better.
    Except —
    TOO improbable to believe.
    This movie doesn’t get made.

    Yet somehow Kobe made it happen.
    This is the same guy that took nights off to rest, sat on the sidelines during 4th quarters.
    He still had THIS game in his back pocket??

    Like many others here, 24 hours later, I’m still in shock. How in the @*%! did he do that???

    Kobe shows us all what we are capable of.
    His newfound humility makes him one of us.
    Finally.

    Thanks Kobe.

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  41. I fell in love with the Lakers as a 17-year-old watching a game in Flagstaff Arizona in 1970. I was a ballboy for the Phoenix Suns In high school. Jerry west smoked cigarettes at halftime. I had the opportunity to have dinner with Chick and Marge Hearn (I was managing a resort hotel) experience that I would put above going to the Masters or Wimbledon (I have done both).

    My sons and daughter were born between 1985 in 1992. They grew up watching Kobe. For my wife, my kids and for me it’s the end of an era. For better or worse, Kobe is been a constant for our family.

    In the history of team or individual sports, I don’t think there’s been anything like his performance last night. Nobody is ever gone out like that.

    Epic

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  42. Quite aside from my sentiments re: Byron Scott’s coaching acumen (or lack thereof), I agree with Darius. One way or the other, the Lakers must make a clear, unmistakable statement regarding Byron’s tenure with the Lakers in the very near future. There are several reasons for this.

    1) Two teams today (Washington and Sacramento) fired their Head Coaches. And there are others that are looking actively for new HCs (Houston, New York, and several others). There are a limited number of viable Head Coaching prospects out there.

    The top prospects for an NBA Head Coaching job could easily be committed in, say, 3 or 4 weeks. So…if the Lakers take too long to make a firm decision, they could end up missing out on some key candidates whom they would otherwise like to consider.

    2) Free agency will start up July 1. If the Lakers are going to settle on a new coach, they should dismiss Scott quickly so that they can hopefully have a new coach in place by July. The identity of the next Head Coach could play a significant role in the decision of any Free Agents considering the Lakers. Ideally, if the Lakers are going to have a new HC, they should have one in place by the beginning of July. Since it takes a while to interview the various candidates and make a careful decision, the Lakers should move quickly. The meter is definitely running.

    One final thought: Jeanie Buss has consistently stated that she runs the business side of the Lakers. She (supposedly) does not interfere with Basketball Operations. Therefore, if she is to be consistent, she should refrain from voicing any opinions on the subject of the Lakers’ next Head Coach. That is not her area of expertise and she has emphasized that repeatedly.

    In my view, Mitch Kupchak alone should make that decision. The last time I checked, he is the General Manager of the team.

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  43. Robert I suppose your “Then what” question is rhetorical but I’ll take it literally. My answer is, it will be up to each of us just how invested we will be in the lakers in the coming years.
    To borrow a line from Aaron: “it’s that simple”.

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  44. Matt R & Clay – It’s like you’ve led the same life as me, or at least we’re of similar ages. I guess the difference is that I was doing it in Austraila. I can happily say that I got to watch Kobe in person at the Forum in his rookie season, and a few other games over the years as I made my way to LA when I could. And I got to see him play well in one of the 17 wins this season (got great seats to the Milwaukee game). And watching yesterday on League Pass was just … well, words cannot express it. The last gunslinger who will not go down with any bullets left in his guns.

    He’s a once-in-a-generation player, who has given us all memories galore to reminisce about while the Lakers rebuild. Let’s hope those ping-pong ball fall in a friendly manner!

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  45. A Horse with no name April 14, 2016 at 9:34 pm

    So many great posts! I watched the game with my high school senior son, who has watched Kobe play for most of his seventeen years. Afterwards, my older son called me from Woodstock’s pizza in Isla Vista where he watched the game with some of his Ucsb buddies. This was a big event in our family life, an end to an era. Poignant and sad, like my sons growing up and leaving home for college. Damn, it feels really sad.

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  46. Mid-Wilshire: it made news all over the world. In Italy we are still kind of crying. We tended to sort of expect of him one last big show, but what he did outshined our wildest imagination. In a way, we should have known better.
    I grew up also a big fan on Magic, in fact I started playing basketball around the twilight years of Magic. I wrote my first poem when I knew that Magic had HIV. I truly discovered Kobe when I first saw him live on TV (game 4 vs Spurs, 2004). Since then, it’s been more than being a fan of his – more like setting him, his drive, his unique balance between sacrifice and improvisation, as the golden standard for my own actions, for better or worse.

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  47. bleedpurplegold April 15, 2016 at 1:18 am

    About news in europe: i couldnt find a single line on the most important news site in germany, tagesschau.de…pretty sad as i was really hoping for proper recognition here for his last game….

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  48. Jeannie is (a big) part of the problem, not the solution. Seems like she interferes with basketball decisions in favor of business ones and, at times, nostalgic ones. In either case stresses the “Lakers legacy” when it is really irrelevant to free agents and in making decisions on coaching hires.

    Much is owed to Dr. Buss’s vision and innovation but he made crucial mistakes by making kinship (instead of bbal knowledge) a prerequisite for running Lakers. Anyone who wants Jim Buss fired has to lay the blame for his hire (and Jerry West’s exile) at Dr. Buss’s feet. Towards the end of his ownership, the Lakers seemed more intent on preserving what they had built than remaining at the avant-guard (they became conservative and rigid instead of innovative and outside the box). This is deep gorge that underlies the Lakers FO problems.

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  49. Warren Wee Lim April 15, 2016 at 8:03 am

    I was in College when I started collecting Kobe cards. This cocky kid full of himself is supposed to be the next best thing to Jordan. Who knew?

    20 years later, I have a family of 3 daughters, my 2nd of which I named after Kobe’s 2nd daughter Gianna. Kobe’s an old man, and I’m fast approaching myself.

    My “love” for Kobe has been there from day 1. I’ve always liked the kid, the guy, the man… I admire his passion for the game and for giving it everything he had. If more people did it, the world would be a better place, but then, he wouldn’t be special. Kobe is Kobe because he is Kobe.

    Farewell, the game will never be the same. Unlike Jordan, who I admired but didn’t really root for, losing Kobe is like losing a big piece of my heart. Its different now. I’ll live, but I’ll continue to hold every other superstar to Kobe’s standard. So that’s good as saying I’ll probably never love again.

    See you around, Mamba.

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  50. Kobe’s farewell game may have been a gift to the franchise in the following way:
    Players around the league, his own peers, were stunned by his performance.
    Who among them wouldn’t be tempted anew to pick up Kobe’s Laker legacy?
    In fact, it almost buried a dreadful season with the sweet scent of excellence.

    http://allball.blogs.nba.com/2016/04/14/the-nba-reacts-to-kobe-bryants-final-game/?ls=iref:nbahpt6e

    Kobe’s final game served as a reminder to everyone how special he, and the Laker franchise in turn truly is.

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  51. it is PHENOMENAL to be a Lakers fan –
    Kobe, my man; Laker pride runs very deep. You´ve been an example of it for 20 years.
    Still today I can´t feel the concrete under my feet;
    As I posted Wednesday morn:
    thank you Mamba – thank you thank you thank you
    All the very best to you and your family –

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  52. Lakers management is a mess. I think this is a point that the harder core fans overlook. For the most part the so called ‘negative’ posters are not anti Lakers we are anti Buss kids. Jeanie and Jim seem to make decisions that are fine in a vacuum, but have dire consequences for the product on the floor.

    whoohoo? is right. Those thinking that Jeanie is the lone adult in the room are wrong. Her decision making is based on loyalty which is fine to a degree but clouds her ability to make the right decisions about the product on the court. Kobe’s last game not withstanding the ‘extension’ saw the Lakers set new lows for futility. Wanting Byron to have another year is a nice thought but there are negative implications for the current youngsters and potential free agents.

    For some reason the Buss kids feel entitled to not only own the Lakers but run them. Its not enough to hire smart people and bask in the success that the basketball folks deliver. It seems success is only appealing when they are in the center of the process. They don’t realize that this desire is counter productive and creates the very confusion, dysfunction and poor on court results that they feel their involvement is necessary to avoid.

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  53. For some reason the Buss kids feel entitled to not only own the Lakers but run them. Its not enough to hire smart people and bask in the success that the basketball folks deliver. It seems success is only appealing when they are in the center of the process. They don’t realize that this desire is counter productive and creates the very confusion, dysfunction and poor on court results that they feel their involvement is necessary to avoid.

    __

    Boom!

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  54. They feel entitled to run the lakers because they ARE entitled to run the Lakers. That is the (grim?) reality.

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  55. So my hopes that Troy Weaver would be hired to help Jeanie, Jim and Mitch isn’t going to happen?

    If the Lakers lose the pick and Scott returns then next year will be another tank job. There is little chance the team will attract a FA of note this summer and we have no assets other than the kids to trade. The only way to get better will be to lose games and try to get the best pick possible in the 2017 draft. Well, at least the pick will be completely ours.

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  56. Robert,
    “I TOTALLY agree with Darius that this HAS TO HAPPEN like….NOW”
    And if it does not? Then what?
    ________________

    Please see 8:06 post from Mid-Wilshire

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  57. Mid, whoohoo?, Anon#1, Anonymous (at 8:56) GREAT REALIST POSTS.

    Just really good points made. I share much of your sentiments…….

    One that stands out is the whole JEANIE RUNS THE BUSINESS SIDE, she has NO SAY in basketball matters because she ADMITS she is not knowledgeable on that stuff. YET JEANIE IS PUSHING FOR BYRON TO STAY ON…….

    Ridiculous. Is JIM pushing for the Pechanga sponsorship deal to be extended??? Is JIM voting for Ads on Jerseys????

    I’ve posted my O on this several times so no need to rehash in depth here but the OWNERS need to be the OWNERS and hire the best and smartest PROFESSIONAL BASKETBALL MINDS to run the team. That’s it. That’ll solve a lot of the FO dysfunction.

    WELP, it looks like they already HAVE!!!!!!!!!

    “To be honest, I’m a lot smarter than all of them when it comes to basketball.”

    – Byron Scott

    SO there you have it. The Buss’s ALREADY HAVE hired the smartest basketball mind around!!! His name is BYRON SCOTT. Man up and BELIEVE IT!!!!!

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  58. “I grew up on the Showtime Lakers and I love Kobe Bryant. I don’t think it’s a generational thing as much as it’s “I like things the way I like them” thing.”

    Thanks Darius. This is truth. I grew up watching Showtime Lakers and loving everything about Magic Johnson. Loved his game, loved his personality, and his joy for life. Kobe is something else entirely. Everyone wanted Kobe to be more like Magic, but how do you ask a tiger to be more like a wolf? It’s just not in their respective natures to change. I took to Kobe very quickly because he was something I had never personally seen the Lakers have -> an hyper athletic 2 guard in the mold of MJ or Clyde Drexler, or Dr. J. More than anything else, I loved Kobe’s work ethic and determination to be the greatest.

    Maybe he didn’t play like Magic or win like Magic or have Magic’s personality or relationship with the press. That doesn’t matter to me though. His results are what matter. He inspired a whole generation of players to be gym rats. He inspired them to work harder than they ever had. I loved watching Kobe play as much as I ever did Magic Johnson.

    Anyway, I’ll miss Kobe just like I missed Magic. He’s a one of a kind player.

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  59. @KenOak,

    I think it has actually been a very strange year seeing Kobe on the court all year and for the most part be seemingly happy. Throughout his career he had always been so competitive that he didn’t do the lets be nice thing on the court. I’m very happy Kobe got to go out in his final game the way he did. I’m going to miss him.

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  60. TempleOfJamesWorthy April 15, 2016 at 3:24 pm

    I partially agree with Darius’ notion that Magic/Team Ball vs. Kobe/Hero Ball is largely a matter of taste.

    But I note this: teams that play Magic/Team Ball do win championships, sometimes even when a bit down on talent relative to their competitors (e.g. the 2004 Pistons, the 1969 Celtics, the 2014 Spurs).

    Teams that depended upon Hero Ball have not, to my recollection, won championships in the modern NBA. Sometimes they get close (2007 Cavs, 2001 76ers, arguably the 2008 Lakers). Most often, they don’t make it past the Conference Finals.

    So, if someone claims to be “the ultimate competitor” and “all about winning,” which style of play should that person adopt? There is a large body of evidence Kobe did not consistently adopt the proven winning approach to the game, and I think that’s a fair criticism of his career.

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  61. Sorry, man, but no one wins a championship playing “hero ball”. No one. If you don’t think Kobe’s played team ball and been quite successful at it, that, there, says it all. He’s been a top performer on 5 championship teams and 7 Finals teams. Players don’t achieve those heights not playing team basketball. To imply otherwise is a mistake.

    If people want to say they wish Kobe would have played differently at times, that’s more than fair. I’ve said on many an occasion I wish he’d not taken shot X or made pass Y. He also led through confrontation and wasn’t always the most personable teammate — especially publicly. I’m sure that shapes his perception too.

    But I think it’s a leap for anyone to say Kobe wasn’t a team player or did not play team basketball. Players simply do not achieve the levels he did in a team sport if he wasn’t.

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  62. In Kobe’s twenty years of playoff basketball, I count just one series where Kobe played “hero ball”…. the finals against Detroit. I remember being disappointed with Kobe’s mindset in that series, and felt that he continually wavered from the game plan.

    However, that’s just one playoff series in 20 years…or 5 games out of 220 playoff games, which translates to less than 2%.

    I don’t recall any other series where Kobe played hero ball or did not follow the game plan.

    Even in the Smush/Kwame era, when the game plan against Phoenix was to go through Kwame and Lamar, Kobe literally took a backseat to Kwame on offense and had no issues with it. Kwame!?! When Kobe had Pau, he continually had to remind him to take more shots and be more aggressive on offense.

    I think when people think of Kobe’s hero ball, they are mostly referencing the regular season games in the Smush/Kwame era. The Triangle took a backseat, and the game plan was to give the ball to Kobe and get out of the way, and guess what? It worked. The Lakers somehow made the playoffs in the stacked West with Luke as their third best player, featuring starters Kwame and Smush. If Kobe had played less hero ball, and more like Magic with that team, I don’t think those teams could have come close to sniffing the playoffs. At the same time, if Kobe had played hero ball when he had Shaq, there is no way they would have won one championship, let alone 3 in a row.

    Instead of focusing on the differences between Magic and Kobe, my two favorite players of all time, I like to focus on their similarities. They are both cut from the same cloth. Both were ruthless killers on the court who were obsessed with winning.

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  63. I protest Bryon comment.

    I am sure I am smarter then him.

    I listen to his post game talks.

    Not smart.

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  64. Thank you Darius for the post and comments. Couldn’t have said it better. Thank you Kobe.

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  65. Kobe finished #29 all-time in assists. Of the 28 season players above him on that list, there is only 1 shooting guard, Reggie Theus, who, if memory serves, played a lot of lead guard as well. Reggie was 6’7″ and was a combo guard before the term became popular. LeBron also tops Kobe on this list.
    All the other players with more career assists than Kobe Bryant were point guards.

    LBJ, who supposedly so much of a “team” player, is 2 of 6 in the Finals. “Hero ball” Kobe was 5 for 7. Somehow, despite KB’s individualism, his teams found success. (Sarcasm) There is more than one way to skin a cat.

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  66. Correction: meant to type “28 players” in my previous comment.

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