Kobe Bryant’s final game with the Los Angeles Lakers is one that will go down for the ages. Kobe scored an unbelievable 60 points on 50 shots, leading the Lakers to a comeback victory over the Utah Jazz. Fans, media, and fellow players everywhere were in pure amazement at what Kobe was able to pull off, but on the other end of that, the young Jazz were the victims of that historic performance.
Jazz star Gordon Hayward is the team’s best player and spent a lot of time guarding Kobe Bryant so he got to witness everything up close and personal.
On his personal blog, gordonhayward20.life, Hayward spoke about that final game, saying that while they were trying to win, many were in shock once Kobe began to get going:
We were trying to win, and for a while there we were. But at the end of the game, in the closing minutes, everything that transpired kind of shocked us, to be honest. We were up double digits for most of the second half, and we led by 10 with about three minutes to go. So when Kobe started hitting shots, and the game started to get close, a lot of us were in shock.
Hayward also noted that once Kobe got in the zone, there was nothing they could do:
There comes a point where he is in the zone, and there’s almost nothing you can do. And Kobe kind of got to that, there at the end of the game, where he was hitting everything and the crowd was going wild […] It was definitely a fairy-tale ending for Kobe Bryant and one the sports world will remember forever. Everyone kind of wanted it to be Kobe’s night. Besides us. But that’s how it goes sometimes.
It’s always interesting to look at milestones from the other point of view. Hayward went in-depth about how difficult it was to guard Kobe when everyone was looking to get him shots for the entire game, and it’s a situation he hopes he never has to go through again.
Hayward and the Jazz were in an unfortunate spot on April 13, being on the other end of a historic performance. The Lakers and Jazz have had plenty of memorable battles throughout the years, and Kobe has given Jazz fans plenty to be angry about so it was only fitting that he pulled that off one more time.