Kobe’s evolution was a beautiful thing to watch as he entered into the final stretch of his career and being entirely dedicated, not just to the game. Still, to his fans, Kobe knew that he couldn’t just randomly announce his retirement during the off-season and walk away without warning. It wouldn’t have been right. It wouldn’t have been Kobe.
Instead, Bean decided to dedicate the entire 2015-2016 season to fans and basketball lovers around the world by giving something comparable to a retirement tour. Los Angeles natives would get multiple chances to see him through the year, whereas select cities with NBA teams would get one more opportunity to see Mamba back in action. Those games (especially the away ones) were full of tributes and ovations, with fans thanking Kobe for his endless contributions to the game of basketball.
So now we're back to the night of April 13th. The Lakers were set to take on the Utah Jazz, and the hype surrounding this game was insane. For starters, the cheapest ticket price was roughly $888, with the most expensive ticket being recorded at $25,700. Every single ticket sold out, and the courtside seats were largely operated by Hollywood's most elite celebrities, including Jack Nicholson as usual, Jay-Z, Kanye West, George Lopez, and former teammate Shaq to name a few. Also sitting courtside was Kobe's wife Vanessa and the couple's children, Natalia and Gigi.
Bryant started off the game 0-of-5 but quickly tapped into ‘Mamba’ mode finishing the quarter with 15 points and closing the half with 22. The Lakers entered into the third quarter trailing by 10. While the deficit wasn’t too large at this point, there was some concern that the Lakers could, in fact, lose, and to be frank, it wouldn’t have felt right at all. A blowout loss and quiet crowd was not the proper ending to a legendary career such as Bryant’s, and nobody knew that more than number 24 himself.