Everyone knew the day would come, and Wednesday night, Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers played his last game in the NBA. The sold-out Staples Center got a show as Bryant scored a season high of 60 points, which catapulted the struggling team to a win over the Utah Jazz.
In the stands were people like Shaquille O'Neal, Magic Johnson and Rick Fox cheering on Bryant and probably waiting to see what he had to say at the end of the game.
"I can't believe how fast 20 years went by; man, this is crazy," Bryant said. "This is absolutely crazy, and to be standing at center court with you guys, my teammates behind me, appreciating the journey that we've been on. We've been through our ups, been through our downs. I think the most important part is we all stayed together throughout."
As a die-hard Lakers fan before being traded to the team, Bryant said he was proud to have spent 20 years with the Lakers. And although the team had its fair share of championships, he was most proud of the moments when the team didn't give up.
"We didn't run. We played through all that stuff, and we got our championships, and we did it the right way," he said.
"What's funny, the thing that had me cracking up all night long, is 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!' " he added.
"All I can do here is thank you guys," Bryant said emotionally. "Thank you guys for all the years of support. Thank you guys for all the motivation. Thank you for all the inspiration."
And his last words in the NBA?
"What can I say? Mamba out," Bryant said as he left the hardwood for the last time.