Photo: Lakers to honour Kobe Bryant in final game with special court design

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After 20 years on the NBA hardwood, there are now only a few hours left in Kobe Bryant's professional career.

With the Los Angeles Lakers legend's final game before retirement taking place tonight against the Utah Jazz, the Staples Center is, as you might expect, gearing up for a huge night.

From record-breaking ticket prices, to tactics that amount to little more than getting Bryant the ball as often as possible, everything about the career-ending fixture is focussed on the Black Mamba. According to a photo uploaded by the Lakers' official Twitter account, that includes the court itself.

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As you can see from the below image, the Lakers are planning to change the hardwood design to recognise Kobe's two iconic jersey numbers - eight and 24.

The numbers, which we're sure you'll agree look pretty fantastic, are likely to be only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the famous franchise's plans to honour one of their very best.

With tributes and montages having been a theme of every game since he announced his decision to retire back in January, it looks like Kobe's final act as an NBA player will see things taken to a new level.

The matchup versus Utah will be an emotional one for everyone involved.

Emotional night

Bryant has been instrumental in bringing five NBA titles to the franchise since arriving in 1996 and, with 33,583 points to his name already, the 37-year-old will be looking to add a few more when he steps foot on the specially designed court.

With 35 and 26 point performances over the past couple of weeks, everyone - from the courtside fans who have paid $17,000 for a ticket, to the millions watching the action on TV - will be hoping Kobe can put in one last memorable performance and bow out in style.

The player himself admitted this week that, had the Lakers been in contention for another title rather than occupying bottom spot in the Western Conference, the attention paid to his retirement would have been far less.

Still, even though the insanely competitive Kobe would have liked nothing better than leaving the game as a champion, getting to play on a court specifically designed in his honour is a pretty good second option.

Kobe Bryant
L.A. Lakers
Pacific Division
Western Conference
Utah Jazz
Northwest Division

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