It’s amazing, when Stephen Curry shoots 400 three pointers in a season and Russell Westbrook can take just a half to amass a triple double, that Kobe Bryant’s final game 60 points were the most by any player this NBA season. But it’s true. Kobe got a 60-point swan song and the Lakers beat Utah 101-96. Kobe does that sort of unexpected, marvelous thing — always has. Just last year the hobbled superstar set his own personal best for assists with 19 in a single game. And now Kobe’s tired encomium tour is over — and the NBA can move on.
There are 30 teams with 15 players each at any given time. That’s 450 players playing 82 games each. There are 1,230 games in every NBA season and yet it was only in this one, Kobe Bryant’s finale, that any of those players in any of those games put up 60 points. It’s rare, in other words. Even for Kobe, who scored 60 or more only six times in his entire 20-year NBA career. Kobe needed 50 shots to do it (he made 22). It’s the most he’s ever taken. No player this century has taken 50 shots in an NBA game. He also managed four assists. Farewell, Mamba.