After 20 game-changing years in the NBA, tonight Hero: Kobe Bryant will play his last game, and athletes from every corner of the sports world are honoring his incredible career with the handle #MambaDay.
Kobe, now 37 years old, entered the league fresh out of high school at the tender age of 18, back in 1996. Bryant has spent his entire two-decade career as an LA Laker, and he’s had a cinematic type of career full of action, drama, and plot twists that seem like they were made in Hollywood. Over his 20 years in the league, Kobe has accumulated a long list of accolades that most players can only dream about. Rings? Got ’em. Records? Broke ’em. MVP? Yeah, he got a few of those, plus some Olympic gold medals, just for some extra bling.
Tonight’s final game will take place at the Staple Center Kobe has called home, against the Utah Jazz. Though he’s said his departure hasn’t really hit him yet, he’s proud for the time he’s had on the court in Los Angeles, saying, "It means everything. 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."
Good luck tonight, Kobe, and happy #MambaDay.