The Kobe Bryant farewell tour culminates at the Staples Center Wednesday, when the Los Angeles Lakers host the Utah Jazz in their last game of the NBA regular season. Bryant, one of the greatest the sport has ever seen, will retire after the sport after this game.
Ever since Bryant said he would retire at the end of the season, each Lakers game has been about the scoring machine saying his goodbyes to every arena, every fan, every opponent. Now, the biggest goodbye of them all will take place in front of his own fans, at the stadium where he won five NBA championships in his 20-year career in LA, with the Lakers looking to give one of their greatest sons the perfect send-off.
"It means everything to finish at home," Bryant was quoted as saying by AP. "I grew up a die-hard Laker fan, so it's like a dream come true for a kid to grow up and 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."
Bryant will hope, in that send-off, he can chip in with a few points as well, much like he did two games back, when he scored 35 against the Houston Rockets, albeit in a losing effort.
"I'm eternally optimistic," Bryant was quoted as saying by the LA Lakers' official website. "The jump shot was falling, the legs felt good. Then you have nights like this."
The Lakers will finish the season with the second-worst record in the NBA and the worst in the Western Conference, but that shouldn't take anything away from Bryant, who has, quite often, single-handedly taken the Lakers to glory in the past.
"Just watching him, especially this year with the game's winding down, sometimes I do find myself in awe of watching one of the greatest that's ever played," Lakers head coach Byron Scott said.
"I think it's going to be crazy. We got a chance to celebrate one of the greatest to ever play the game this season, and I think we did it the right way."
While there will be plenty of awe in the proceedings on court Wednesday, there will also be business, particularly for the Utah Jazz, who have a lot at stake in this game. They are still in contention for taking up the last playoff spot in the Western Conference, and need a win to have any chance of pipping the Houston Rockets to eighth place. That chance could go, however, if the Rockets win the earlier game against Sacramento.
"We have got to go to Los Angeles and try to win a game under very different circumstances, with it being Kobe's last game, and see what happens elsewhere and hope for the best," Utah Jazz coach Quin Snyder said.
Where to Watch Live
Kobe Bryant's final NBA game is scheduled for an 8 a.m. IST (3.30 a.m. BST, 10.30 p.m. ET) start. Live TV coverage of the game in India will be on Sony Six and Sony Six HD. The live streaming option for LA Lakers vs Utah Jazz will be on Sonyliv.
Audience in the US can watch Kobe's last game live on ESPN 2, with the live stream option on Watch ESPN. BT Sport will provide live coverage of the NBA game in the UK, while all of Bryant's moves can also be live streamed on Watch BT Sport.
Viewers from across the world can watch Kobe Bryant's last game live on NBA.com.