Kobe Bryant and his storied 20-year NBA career came to its proper close in a moving ceremony last night at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. The Lakers raised not one, but both of Bryant’s jerseys during a halftime of the team’s contest against the Golden State Warriors, and the reaction across social media was heavy as expected.
Bryant, looking well in retirement, was in attendance with his family and even stuck around until the end of regulation before the Lakers forced the Warriors into an overtime situation. With class and poise, Bryant thanked the organization and praised the current Lakers roster while telling everyone the focus should be put on the next generation of players and not solely himself.
Bryant and his family left the game and the Warriors eventually took the edge in the game with a 116-114 win.
Across social media, some of Bryant’s former teammates and his bevy of fans chimed in with moving tributes of their own. We’ve selected a few for your viewing pleasure below and on the following pages, including portions of the ceremony itself. And in an additional classy move, Bryant’s jerseys bookended the jersey crafted for longtime late Lakers announcer, Chick Hearn.