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    Description

    "Mamba out!"

    2016 Kobe Bryant Number "8" Staples Center Hardwood Used in His Historic Sixty-Point Farewell Game. Somehow the greatest of the greats are able to author the perfect farewell. Ted Williams went yard in his final at-bat. Derek Jeter slapped a walk-off single. Peyton Manning hoisted the Lombardi Trophy. And Kobe Bryant supplied what was unquestionably the most thrilling performance of the Los Angeles Lakers' 2015-16 season on April 13, 2016, draining sixty points to power a stunning come-from-behind victory against the Utah Jazz in a game that was both technically meaningless and yet one of the most unforgettable in franchise history.

    For twenty years, Kobe Bryant had served as the face of the Lakers franchise, delivering five NBA Championships to a star-studded fanbase who packed the Staples Center to the rafters for the final game of the NBA season to pay their respects to their departing hero. Nobody could have possibly imagined that the aging legend had one last signature performance within his weary frame. As the Lakers took the lead and Kobe sank his sixtieth point, the atmosphere was akin to that of a clinched World Championship.

    If there had ever been any criticism of this Mount Rushmore figure of the modern NBA throughout his stellar career, it was filed under the three-word heading of "Pass the ball!" The fiercely competitive Bryant had always wanted the weight of the game upon his own shoulders. But in this 1,346th and final contest of Bryant's career, his Lakers teammates effectively became part of the jam-packed Staples Center audience, feeding their Hall of Fame hero on every trip up to court, and enjoying one last show for the ages. Kobe would hit twenty-two of fifty from the field, including six from beyond the arc. Ten points were delivered by free throw.

    In the shadow of Hollywood, one of the greatest Lakers of them all delivered the perfect Hollywood ending. Sixty points.

    The final two points of Kobe's game and career came with fifteen seconds left, at the free throw line, just a few yards away from where a slab of hardcourt bearing his number "8" had been installed in his honor (a number '24" appeared at the other end of the court). Moments later, after the final buzzer, Bryant would deliver a moving farewell speech at center court, thanking the Lakers organization, its fans and his family, signing off with a perfect "Mamba out!"

    As profoundly moving as that final demonstration of athletic mastery and goodbye speech had felt as the teary-eyed fans drained from "The House that Kobe Built," that last day took on the sharpest poignancy almost four years later, when word came that Bryant's helicopter had smashed into a fog-shrouded mountain, leaving no survivors. Though Kobe will live forever through the various philanthropic efforts that continue in his absence, and the shrines to him in the rafters of the Staples Center and the hallowed halls of Springfield, the pain of the loss still boils throughout the sporting world.

    But pain can also be a great motivator, and as this text is written, the Los Angeles Lakers are the Vegas-favorite to claim a long-delayed 2020 NBA Championship, one which will certainly be dedicated to Kobe's memory should it come to pass. Far more than the rings and trophies that Bryant left behind, it is his single-minded obsession with excellence that serves as his legacy. So one cannot help but be inspired by the offered lot from the hallowed ground where a true legend made his last stand.

    Consisting of four panels each measuring four-by-eight-feet (48x96"), the colorful tribute to a departing hero is one of the most inspiring lots that Heritage has had the privilege to present to the collecting world. Though the number will never again appear upon a Lakers jersey, it lives forever in this commanding format, ready to be built into one lucky collector's personal court, or to serve as a massive wall display, or an inspirational public memorial (the "24" number from the same game is currently installed at the Los Angeles Lakers practice facility). Each of the four pieces bear holographic authentication stickers registered into the NBA and MeiGray database as numbers AM013808, AM013809, AM013810 and AM013811. Kobe applied a massive autograph to the numeral after the game, in bold black sharpie, before walking off the professional court forever.

    The seller will donate ten percent (10%) of his proceeds to the Mamba and Mambacita Sports Foundation.


    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    October, 2020
    3rd Saturday
    Internet/Mail Bids: 35
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
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