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Basketball's Bryant shines in final game

BBC News BBC News 14/04/2016
Kobe Bryant: Bryant entered the NBA at the age of 17, straight from high school © Reuters Bryant entered the NBA at the age of 17, straight from high school

One of basketball's biggest stars, Kobe Bryant, has retired from the sport after a career spanning two decades with a stunning final performance.

Kobe Bryant: He spent his entire career with the LA Lakers © AFP He spent his entire career with the LA Lakers

He scored 60 points to help the LA Lakers make a dramatic comeback against the Utah Jazz in Los Angeles.

Fans shop for Kobe Bryant souvenirs in the Lakers store at Staples Center: Kobe Bryant souvenirs sold well at the fans shop at the Staples Center © Reuters Kobe Bryant souvenirs sold well at the fans shop at the Staples Center

Bryant, 37, spent his entire career with the Lakers, winning five NBA titles and recording the third highest total number of points in the sport.

Fans write messages to Kobe Bryant at the Staples Center. Los Angeles. 13 April 2016: Fans have written farewell messages on a wall at the Staples Center © Reuters Fans have written farewell messages on a wall at the Staples Center

Tickets for his final match changed hands for up to $27,500 (£19,315).

Bryant scored 23 points in the fourth quarter to help his team overcome a 15-point deficit to win the game.

He took a career-high 50 shots in the fifth highest-scoring game of his career.

Addressing the crowd after the game, he said it was "crazy" to end on such a high note.

"You know, I was really, really tired, but I thought, I just got to continue to push it because the fan support was just tremendous and I think that's the thing I'll remember the most," he said.

Hollywood stars, famous rappers and sports legends were in the sell-out crowd at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.

The Los Angeles transport department has renamed a metro station near the Staples Center "Kobe Station" for the day.

Los Angeles City Hall was lit up in the Lakers' colours of purple and gold at dusk.

However, correspondents say Bryant is not universally adored by fans.

His performances could be inconsistent and in 2003 he was accused of rape by a woman with whom he eventually reached an out-of-court settlement.

Growing up in Philadelphia, Kobe Bryant entered the NBA straight from high school at the age of 17.

He became the youngest-ever player to appear in an NBA game, coming on against Dallas aged 18 years, two months and 11 days.

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