Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant’s last NBA game went down in infamy as he poured in a ridiculous 60 points against the Utah Jazz. While the Lakers finished up a woeful 2015-16 campaign, Kobe delivered one last memory for the ages at 37 years old in a 101-96 victory.
When was Kobe Bryant’s last NBA game: April 13, 2016
Kobe’s play had taken a major downturn for several years after recovering from a torn Achilles suffered in 2013, and that final season was a tough one as the losses racked up. The amount of work and preparation he had to go through to keep his body in game shape was immense. But Bryant soldiered on, leading to that momentous final game of his retirement tour.
The Lakers’ initial goal was for Kobe to at least get to 30 points. The Lakers star started off slow as both teams couldn’t buy a bucket. He even missed his first five shots thanks to some nerves.
Then, he started to get humming.
By the time the first half was over, Kobe had already poured in 22 points, making that goal of 30 points a cakewalk. However, the Jazz held a 57-42 lead at halftime, so it was going to take a major comeback to pull off the miracle.
Of course, Kobe delivered.
Bryant just kept scoring and scoring and scoring in the second half, leading the Lakers back in epic fashion from 14 points down early in the fourth quarter. Kobe hit the 40-point mark with just under 10 minutes to play, marking the first time he reached 40 points since November 2014.
The 50-point mark was hit with just under two minutes to play, making Bryant the first-ever player to hit that threshold in his final game. His 57th and 58th points on a jumper finally gave the Lakers the lead with 31 seconds to play, and he then knocked down a pair of free throws to get to that magic number of 60. Ironically enough, the game ended with a Kobe assist to Jordan Clarkson for the final 101-96 score.
When the dust settled, Kobe scored his 60 points on 22-of-50 shooting overall and 6-of-21 from 3-point range in 42 grueling minutes of action. He also had four rebounds and four assists. Bryant scored 17 straight Lakers points in the fourth quarter, with assists to Clarkson sandwiched around that flurry.
The final performance left teammates and everybody around the NBA in awe. Even after such a difficult season full of aches, pains and 65 losses, Kobe was able to dig deep and put forth one final heroic effort before delivering an epic speech to cap off his illustrious career:
Kobe finished that final season with averages of 17.6 points, 3.7 rebounds and 2.8 assists while shooting just 35.8% from the field and 28.5% from 3-point range in 28.2 minutes per game. But all those struggles were worth it for that final performance, and the retirement tour in general was a spectacle to behold as everybody paid their respects to the departing legend.
Kobe Bryant’s tragic death in January 2020 only makes these moments more emotional to look back on. It was only fitting for Kobe to leave the NBA with his full Mamba Mentality on display, gunning the Lakers to a clutch victory on that fateful April day.