The danger in farewell tours is that they often become tiresome long before the final farewell. Celebrations become more scripted and less genuine and take away from other players. So long becomes too long and, after a while, goodbye starts feeling like good riddance.
Kobe fatigue settled in for me months ago. His refrain about being exhausted was exhausting, forcing me to refrain from watching. It had reached a point in which Bryant’s final game was less appealing than his first. Years from now, however, his last performance could be the one fans remember most.
Sixty points in any game is an accomplishment, but 60 points for a 37-year-old with 20 NBA seasons behind him was history. People will forget that he took 50 shots, the most attempts of any NBA player in 30-plus years. They’ll ignore his teammates feeding him like the last player for the JV and him driving the lane with little resistance.
Bryant spent his career putting people in seats, and he spent two hours Wednesday getting people out of them. He gave them what they wanted. He entertained them. Together, they returned to yesteryear for one final farewell. It was worth watching.