Bryant, known by the moniker he gave himself, the Black Mamba, announced his retirement in a poem last November, in part writing, “My heart can take the pounding / My mind can handle the grind / But my body knows it’s time to say goodbye.”
After 20 years in the league, the Lakers great bids farewell to the NBA tonight in a game against the Utah Jazz at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.
Twenty years ago, Kobe Bryant made his NBA debut as a 17-year-old fresh out of high school. He went scoreless in the game. He is the first player in NBA history to play 20 seasons with the same team. He scored the third-most points in NBA history. Tonight, at 37, the five-time champion, third all-time leading scorer, and 18-time all-star will play the last game of his career.