US & Canada

US basketball star Kobe Bryant shines in final game

Los Angeles Lakers forward Kobe Bryant (24) waves to the Staples Center crowd as he leaves the game against the Utah Jazz in the closing seconds Image copyright Reuters
Image caption A sell-out crowd turned out to watch Kobe Bryant's final game

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

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

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.

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.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Bryant entered the NBA at the age of 17, straight from high school
Image copyright AFP
Image caption He spent his entire career with the LA Lakers
Image copyright Gary A. Vasquez/USA TODAY/Reuters
Image caption Bryant said he could not have imagined he would play so well in his final game

"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.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Kobe Bryant souvenirs sold well at the fans shop at the Staples Center
Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Fans have written farewell messages on a wall at the Staples Center

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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