Shaq to Kobe: Give me 50 points in your last game
For the earlier part of the 2000s, the Staples Center had been Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal’s hallowed grounds as the Lakers duo won the NBA’s first three-peat from 2000-2002 since the Chicago Bulls did so from 1996-1998.
As befitting of their time together in Los Angeles, O’Neal challenged Bryant to put a big 50 mark next to the Black Mamba’s name in the scoresheet for his final game at the Lakers’ home court versus the Utah Jazz.
“Kobe, they’re doing a big celebration for you the last game,” O’Neal told Bryant at Inside the NBA after the retiring guard scored 20 in the Lakers’ 107-100 win over the Grizzlies. “A lot of us are going to be there. Can you promise me one thing?”
“I need 50 that night. Can you do it? Your last game, your last home game at the Staples, can you give us 50?”
To be fair Bryant does have 25 50-point games in his Hall-of-Fame-worthy career and 15 of those were put up at Staples Center, the most iconic one being his 81-point game against Toronto in 2006.
Bryant, though, did most of it during his prime when loose-fitting jerseys were still in style.
“Uh, no,” Bryant told his former teammate laughing. “No. Absolutely not.”
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