On April 13, 2016, Kobe Bryant could have mailed in his last ever regular season game. Instead, it became one of the most prolific, exciting nights of his career. Before we watch Bryant’s FIFTIETH SHOT — his 26,200th as a Laker — we should reflect on everything that made it so important.
It’s worth taking a moment to reflect on the fact that Kobe made it through a record-setting 20 seasons in Los Angeles, somehow surpassing some of the greatest players in NBA history atop franchise leaderboards. Those twenty seasons included numerous championships, but also infighting, scandal, trade requests, and more losing than you might remember. Of course, by the time 2016 rolled around, those losing days had returned. To appreciate what Kobe gave us in his final game for a fallen team, it’s worth remembering some of his most prolific scoring (and shooting) nights in prior down times.