Normally the game would have no appeal — the Sixers were winless entering the game and Bryant’s Lakers weren’t much better with just two — but after winning a state title for Lower Merion High School in 1996, leaving Philadelphia for the NBA Draft and rising to nearly unparalleled heights in the league since, Bryant’s last hurrah was certain to be a special one.
The Sixers had a pregame ceremony for Bryant in which they presented him a framed Lower Merion High jersey with his current NBA number on it (he wore No. 33 in high school). Sixers legend Julius Erving was in the house as well.
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Bryant received a roaring ovation from the crowd during introductions.