Sacramento Kings fans welcomed all-time NBA great, Los Angeles Laker Kobe Bryant to Sleep Train arena Thursday night. Typically the long-time Kings killer gets booed. But, Thursday, he received a rousing ovation. Bryant is retiring at the end of the season.
After the game, he told reporters this game against the rival Kings was important to play in.
"I wanted to be out there playing in front of these fans, it was great," says Bryant. "I looked at the schedule and I know my shoulder was bothering me, and I wanted to make sure I rested it enough to be able to play one last time here.
True to form, he put on a show in Sacramento. For his career, he’s averaged 26.7 points per game against the Kings –a point and a half better than his career average. Bryant played 30 minutes and scored 28 points, but while he was scoring the Kings were building a lead that reached 27 at one point.
D’Angelo Russell appears to be Bryant’s successor as the next Lakers star. He scored 27 for the Lakers and led the comeback as the Lakers outscored the Kings by 18 in the second half to take the lead late in the 4th quarter. But with seven seconds left, Kings guard Rajon Rondo made a floating jumper in the lane to give the Kings the lead. DeMarcus Cousins hit two free throws to seal the victory. Cousins had 29 in the Kings' win.
It was the perfect way for Kings fans to say goodbye.