Kobe gets 60, Warriors 73 on historic night
And with sweat and confetti all over his gold uniform for the final time, he expressed humble thanks to his fans and family for their loving support over two decades.
"What else can I say?" Bryant asked. "Mamba out."
Now that's a Hollywood ending to a remarkable career.
Bryant utterly dominated his final game Wednesday night, wrapping up 20 NBA seasons with one last offensive showcase in the Lakers' 101-96 victory over the Utah Jazz.
He scored 23 points in the fourth quarter, posting his first 50-point game since February 2009 and rallying the Lakers from a 15-point deficit to win the final game of the worst season in franchise history.
It was messy, ridiculous and magical - even to the man who did it so many times over 20 years.
"It's hard to believe it happened this way," Bryant said. "I'm still shocked about it."
Bryant and his teammates conspired for one last omnivorous scoring performance by the third-leading scorer in NBA history. He played 42 minutes and took a career-high 50 shots, his teammates attempting to set him up for points on nearly every possession.
Kobe came up with the fifth highest-scoring game of his career. He became the oldest player to score 50 points in an NBA game with his highest-scoring performance since getting 61 against New York in 2009 - oh, and he had four assists and four rebounds.
CURRY, WARRIORS GET RECORD 73rd WIN
Down to their final chance at the record, the Warriors became the first 73-win team Wednesday night by beating the Memphis Grizzlies 125-104, breaking what many considered an unmatchable mark set 20 years ago by Jordan's Chicago Bulls - oh, and Golden State coach Steve Kerr, too.
"It's a great way to finish off what was an amazing regular season," Kerr said. "I just told our guys I never in a million years would have guessed that that record would ever be broken. I thought it was like DiMaggio's hit streak, really. I was wrong, but I will say the same thing now that I said 20 years ago, `I don't think this one will ever be broken.' Somebody's got to go 74-8. I don't see it, and I hope our fans aren't expecting that next year."
Curry achieved yet one more shooting milestone, becoming the first player to make 400 3-pointers in a season by knocking down 10 from long range on the way to 46 points and 402 total 3s. Golden State saved one last record for the closing day of the regular season, and did it for a roaring, sellout home crowd at Oracle Arena. Yet these Warriors want nothing more than to build off their remarkable run so far and ride it to another title.
"Who knows how far we can take this thing?" Curry said.
The Bulls won the title in 1996 - and Jordan mentioned the playoffs in a congratulatory statement.
"I want to congratulate the Warriors on their amazing season," Jordan said. "The game of basketball is always evolving and records are made to be broken. The Warriors have been a lot of fun to watch and I look forward to seeing what they do in the playoffs."