Kobe Bryant's Final Game
20 years. Today, Kobe will play his final game in the NBA. Bryant, 37, has been with the Los Angeles Lakers his entire career and brought home five championships. The Lakers have the home court advantage against the Utah Jazz at 10:30 p.m. ET.
"It means everything," the Philadelphia native and likely future Hall of Famer said. "I grew up a die-hard Laker fan. It's like a dream come true, for a kid to grow up, play for his favorite team and play here for 20 years, his entire career. I've seen the city grow. I've seen the city develop and vice versa. There's no place I'd rather end my career."
A quick look at some of Bryant's accomplishments:
• Third all-time scorer in total points, behind Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Karl Malone.
Scored 81 points on January 22, 2006, against the Toronto Raptors, the second-highest total in NBA history. Only Wilt Chamberlain (100) has scored more in a game.
• Won five NBA championships, 2000-2002 and 2009-2010.
• Won two Olympic gold medals -- in 2008 and 2012.
• NBA MVP in 2008.
• 18 All-Star selections.
• Two-time NBA scoring champion (2006, 2007).
• Four-time NBA All-Star Game MVP.
Staying with one team for an entire career is insane. Staying with that team for 20 years is legendary. According to ESPN's Arash Markazi, only 11 other players in professional sports have done so. He's compared to Derek Jeter with the Yankees, Tony Gwynn with the Padres, Cal Ripken Jr. with the Orioles, and Steve Yzerman of the Detroit Red Wings.
Throughout the season, Kobe has received gifts, tributes, and ovations from the crowd. What will the final game be like?
"Tough to say, " Bryant said. "We'll see Wednesday. So far I've been pretty cool about everything. I've been very thankful about everything, been very happy about everything. It hasn't really hit me yet. We'll see if it does."