Whether or not you like basketball, as a sports fan, Wednesday was one of the most exciting and exhilarating nights we will see in a very long time.
For east coast fans, it was a bit of a late night as both Kobe Bryant and the Golden State Warriors didn’t take center stage until 10:30 p.m., but for those who stayed up, it was well worth it.
To start, Kobe and his Lakers tipped off against the Utah Jazz in both teams’ season finale.
Any other year this game would’ve been one that didn’t really grab the eye of anyone, as the Jazz don’t draw much attention in any given year and the storied Lakers were an abysmal 16-65 entering the game.
But it was the last game of Kobe’s career and the NBA great drew quite the fanfare. In fact, at one point yesterday, the cheapest seat for the Lakers’ game was selling for upwards of $800 on Stubhub and courtside seats were selling at somewhere around $16,000.
The night that began somewhat sluggish for Bryant picked up considerably as the pressure built. He started off slow, but as the game went to halftime, the Lakers star had tallied more than 20 points.
Then the Lakers looked like themselves in the second half. The Jazz began to extend their lead and Kobe became noticeably frustrated. At one point after a made Utah basket, he slammed the ball into the floor out of displeasure.
It really showed what Kobe has been all about his entire career – winning. His team was losing in a night that was celebrating him and the outcome was irrelevant, but he didn’t care, he wanted to win.
After making the lead 11, color commentator Hubert Davis stated on the broadcast that the Lakers needed a score and within seconds of that statement, Bryant fired up a 3-pointer and buried it, firing himself up and electrifying the Staples Center.
He proceeded to bring the Lakers back, essentially on his own, and with under a minute to play, sank two free throws to give him 60 points on the night.
Just like that, the Lakers had won his final game and Kobe did only as Kobe could do and finished his career on a legendary note. In one that will be remembered forever, Kobe historically scored the most points ever in a players’ last career game.
In his post-game address of the crowd, whom he thanked and praised, followed by his post-game interview with ESPN, a humbled Kobe looked somewhat relieved that it was all over.
With that, the final chapter of one of the greatest to ever play in the NBA was over.
Admittedly, it was sad to watch someone that so many children looked up to walk off the floor for a final time.
This all seemed to steal the spotlight, and another historic moment took a backseat.
At the same time as the Lakers’ game, the Warriors played the Memphis Grizzlies on their quest to 73 wins.
They entered the night 72-9 and needed a win in their season-finale to eclipse the best record in NBA history, 72-10, set by Michael Jordan’s Bulls.
The game was never really that close or that exciting as the Warriors somewhat ran away with the game, winning by 21.
In the game that set history, Steph Curry did too. He made his 400th 3-point field goal of the season, and became the first player in NBA history to do that.
In fact, Curry broke the record for 3-pointers in a season by more than 150.
The win made the Warriors the first team to conclude a season with single-digit losses.
I couldn’t help but continue to switch back-and-forth between games, but I must admit towards the end, I forgot to flip back to the Warriors’ game because I became mesmerized with Kobe’s performance like I had as a little kid.
Wednesday was historic, special and as a sports fan, I wish there were more nights like that, but something tells me it’ll be a long time before we see another one that great.