Even the fans who have watched Kobe Bryant over the course of his entire career – through the 81 point game, the playoff heroics and the five championships – stood in shock and awe as Bryant hung 60 points on the Utah Jazz on the final night of his NBA career.
But even more surprising than the performance Bryant put on that night at the Staples Center, is a nugget that Jazz forward Gordon Hayward revealed about that night – the Jazz were equally as stunned as everyone else.
Here’s what Hayward had to say about that night from his personal blog.
“We were trying to win, and for a while there we were. But at the end of the game, in the closing minutes, everything that transpired kind of shocked us, to be honest. We were up double digits for most of the second half, and we led by 10 with about three minutes to go. So when Kobe started hitting shots and the game started to get close, a lot of us were in shock.
It was like being a part of a showcase, or being in a video game. There wasn’t really much normality about it. A guy scored 60 points and took 50 shots. There was something different as far as his aggressiveness. I think every time he touched it, you knew he was going to try to shoot it, or try to score, or try to get something going. He’s always an aggressive player, but that night, he was ultra-aggressive and tried to score on every single possession.”
It’s hard to blame Hayward and the rest of the Jazz for being in awe. Whichever team the Lakers ended up playing that night seemed destined to be a doormat en route to just a little bit more Kobe Bryant magic before he rode off into the sunset.
Bryan Altman is, for some reason, an unabashed fan of the Rangers, Jets and Mets. If he absolutely had to pick a basketball team it would be the Knicks, but he’d gladly trade them for just one championship for any of his other three teams.