DeMar DeRozan compares Kobe Bryant’s final game with Lakers to Avengers
On the five-year anniversary of Kobe Bryant’s legendary final game with the Los Angeles Lakers, San Antonio Spurs wing DeMar DeRozan—then with the Toronto Raptors—recounted watching the epic and on-brand performance from his late idol and friend.
DeRozan penned a guest column for the Los Angeles Times describing the unforgettable experience watching Bryant will his way to 60 points, leading the Lakers to a thrilling comeback win.
“I stood in front of my TV in Toronto, my hands on my head, my eyes getting wider by the second. I thought Kobe would do something special. But … I mean, come on … who does THIS?
“I’d known Kobe a long time. I knew how hurt he was, how tired he had to be. Sixty points is crazy. Fifty shots are crazier. Thinking about it now, I still can’t help it.
“I have to smile. It was just perfect.”
A native Angeleno, DeRozan also reflected on his relationship with Bryant, which began at the Hall of Famer’s basketball camp–one which Klay Thompson attended, too. DeRozan befriended the Lakers icon through summer pickup games at UCLA, his time at USC, and through their respective NBA journeys.
DeMar DeRozan recalled his interaction with Bryant after the Raptors competed against the Lakers for the last time during Bryant’s farewell season in 2016.
“We talked before that game and just to see him walking away, but also to see how happy he was too, knowing he was about to walk away from the game — you know that I found so much inspiration and enjoyment with that. As a player you’ll want to walk away from the game just being happy. And he was really happy,” DeRozan furthered
DeRozan compared Bryant’s unbelievable finale to another notable Hollywood production.
“But this was crazy — I can’t think of a better finish…Remember Michael Jordan’s last game, when his team was losing and the fans were all rooting for him to go back in the game? Jordan mostly just stood up and waved. So many of the guys I’ve been fans of, when they retire, they just kind of go out quietly. This was different. This was like an “Avengers” movie,” the current Spurs star added.
Bryant delivering clutch heroics for the Lakers in front of a Staples Center crowd with the world watching: inevitable.