Kobe Bryant may have passed away. But his legacy will last lifetimes. Tuesday marked the fifth anniversary of his final game, and many are reminiscing on his unprecedented greatness.
Pat Sajak’s daughter, Maggie, is one of the many who is taking a moment to honor the late basketball legend. On Tuesday, Maggie posted a snap to her Instagram stories that included a screenshot from The Los Angeles Times that showed her mom, Lesley, and her aunt at Bryant’s final game against the Utah Jazz.
To close the door on his career with the Los Angeles Lakers, Bryant gave his city an explosive, transcendent performance. If you don’t know, 2016 was The Year of Kobe. That night, he gave the world a fitting finale to a twenty-year career as one of the NBA’s greatest of all time.
NBA fans will remember the evening of April 13, 2016, as nothing less than historic. Kobe Bryant dropped 60 points during the last game of the superstar’s career. From the opposing Utah Jazz, Joe Ingles reminisced on the night, which saw Bryant finish with 50 field goal attempts.
“I think going into the game we knew there was going to be a volume of shots that was going to be some type of record,” Ingles said. “It’s gotta be a record of something.”
The Magic of Kobe Bryant’s Final Performance
Into the last quarter, Bryant had 37 points, and the Lakers were down by nine. They made a quick rally, but the Jazz led by ten at 94-84. With just three minutes on the clock, that’s when Bryant shined one final time.
During his last few moments on the court, he scored the Lakers’ following 15 points, making all five shots from the field. In addition, he clinched all four of his free throw attempts. With less than 15 seconds, he put the Lakers up 99-96.
“I think early on we realized like in the first quarter he was going to get enough attempts up (that) if he made a few of his attempts, he was going to have a big night. I don’t think we envisioned what kind of happened,” Ingles said.
Five years later, that performance is still the hallmark of Bryant’s basketball career. That game— more like a fairytale— exists as a sweet yet somber farewell. Despite the tragedy that followed less than four years later when Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna were among the nine people killed in a helicopter crash, his mythological reign will continue to live.