After an incredible 20 seasons in the NBA, basketball legend Kobe Bryant has played his final game – with a Hollywood ending.
The Black Mamba, one of the most renowned players in a league that has boasted the likes of Wilt Chamberlain and Michael Jordan, took to the court for the final time on Wednesday and made history in front of a sold-out Staples Center.
The Lakers were neck and neck all night against the Utah Jazz, but Bryant dominated the court, scoring an incredible 60 points during the game – with the Lakers winning, scoring a total of 101 points to the Jazz’s 96.
Bryant attempted 50 shots Wednesday night, the most taken by anyone in an NBA game in the past 30 seasons, as well as beating Michael Jordan’s record of 49 from 1993.
The event was star-studded with the likes of David Beckham, Jay-Z and Jack Nicholson all sitting courtside.
Flea, the bassist of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, played the national anthem Jimi Hendrix-style.
During a first-quarter timeout, a video tribute was played that featured messages from several musicians, including Snoop Dogg, Taylor Swift, Justin Timberlake, Flea, John Legend, Ice Cube, Kanye West and Justin Bieber.
After the game, Bryant delivered a speech thanking his fans and professed his love for the Lakers, the team where he spent the entirety of his 20 year career.
“What’s funny — the thing that had me cracking up all night long — the fact that I go through 20 years of everybody screaming to pass the ball, and then the last night they’re like, ‘Don’t pass it!'” Bryant joked.
“God I love you guys,” he said. “I love you guys.”
Bryant went on to thank his family and said he was proud of the ‘the down years’ because ‘we did it the right way’.
“Mamba out,” were the last words Bryant said on the court before setting the microphone on the floor.
The Lakers are finishing off a dismal 16-66 season and are out of playoff contention – however the pageantry of sending the team’s shooting legend into retirement dominated the evening that will go down in sporting history.