5 best & 5 worst moments of Kobe Bryant’s final season

Kobe Bryant went out with a Hollywood ending to his remarkable career.

Robert Hanashiro

A long, hard season is over for the Lakers and Kobe Bryant.

So is his legendary career.

And yet it ended so amazingly, you almost forget what a rough road it was.

It’s a mixture of emotions for Kobe and his fans, as both have suffered through this final season while relishing every last glimpse of greatness. Now that it’s over, there’s euphoria, adulation, relief and some sadness.

Kobe’s last season was unreal to the very end. Here are the five best and five worst moments of Kobe’s final season:

5. Kobe gets every pair of Jordans

Kobe got gifts in every city he visited for the final time, but the best farewell gift he got was from the brand built by his idol.

4. Kobe soars for one final poster

Clint Capela, come on down. He goes down in history as the last guy whom Kobe posterized in a dunk.

3. 38 points vs. Wolves, 34 vs. Celts

Kobe had a few vintage performances left in the tank, including one against the Lakers’ longtime rivals.

2. Lakers beat Warriors

Kobe didn’t have a good game in LA’s 112-95 win, scoring 12 points on 4-of-14 shooting, but this March 6 win was the Finals for Lakers fans. It was the first time a team with a sub-.200 winning percentage beat a .900 team, and it avenged one of the lowest points in the season for Kobe and the Lakers. It just didn’t cost the Warriors their shot at the Bulls’ record.

1. 60 (!) in his final game

Kobe became the first player to top 50 points in his final game, and not only did that, but he also rallied the Lakers to one last win. He even outscored Steph Curry on the night and overshadowed the Warriors’ record-setting 73rd victory.

5. Kobe bobbleheads that don’t look like Kobe

The Lakers immortalized Kobe with not one, not two but THREE bobbleheads with no resemblance to Black Mamba.

4. D’Angelo Russell snitches on Nick Young

This biggest mess in a season full of Lakers drama wasn’t Kobe’s doing, and it highlighted the lack of leadership Kobe was leaving the Lakers with. Any hopes the team had that Kobe would be able to mentor the young Lakers never seemed to materialize amid his farewell tour.

3. Sixers score win No. 1 off Kobe, Lakers

Philly was 0-18, tied for the worst start in NBA history. Couldn’t beat a bunch of guys at the YMCA. But the Lakers were 2-14, and after a strong start, Kobe shot 2 for 16 the rest of the way as the Sixers spoiled his last game in Philly and ensured they wouldn’t own the record alone by going 0-19. 

"Hey Kobe, guess what I secretly recorded Nick saying?"

2. 1 for 14 in 34-point loss at Warriors

Not to mention 2 for 15 at Detroit, 1 for 11 at Utah. There were a lot of bad shooting nights for Kobe, but the Lakers’ 111-77 loss on Nov. 24 matched the worst shooting performance of his career, and showed just how much separated Kobe & Co. from the defending champs, who improved to 16-0. "I could have scored 80 tonight, it wouldn’t have made a damn difference," Bryant said.

1. The injuries

They kept him out of 16 games and left him looking like a shadow of his old self in many more. Even when he was great and fans said "One more year", Kobe always acknowledged that even if he wanted to, his body wouldn’t let him. Before he scored 60, this might’ve been the enduring image of his last season.