Kobe Bryant pays respects to NBA and Lakers in heartfelt tweet

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Simply put, Kobe Bryant's final game in the NBA couldn't have gone much better.

The 37-year-old rolled back the years to drop 60 points on route to victory over the Utah Jazz at the Staples Center on Wednesday night, putting an exclamation point on what has been a phenomenal 20-year career in the league.

Having had a day to reflect on what was an emotional night, the Black Mamba has now taken to Twitter to sum up what he described as "the final chapter".

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Not that there was any doubting it before the Lakers played the Jazz this week, but Wednesday night's game summed up just what Kobe has grown to mean to the city of Los Angeles and, in turn, what the city means to Bryant.

From the electric atmosphere both in and outside the arena, to the specially designed court in Kobe's honour and his emotional speech after the game, the entire evening was a mutual show of respect between the player and the place he has known as home since arriving in 1996.

In his heart of hearts, Kobe would have loved to have his "final chapter" taking place in the weeks and months ahead as the 2016 NBA playoffs get underway.

However, after enduring a tough campaign in which the Lakers finished bottom of the Western Conference with a 17-65 record, recording his fifth-best scoring night of his career in his final outing certainly wasn't a bad way to bow out.

Now that he is walking away from the game, it remains to be seen what Bryant next has in store.

What next?

Unlike many of his former teammates, the five-time NBA champion has consistently said he isn't interested in going into coaching so fans are unlikely to see him returning to the Lakers bench any time soon.

Never a man short of an opinion, perhaps Bryant could still cast his eye over the NBA and his beloved Lakers as an analyst. After all, Charles Barkley did offer him a job just this week.

Kobe has also spoken this week about potentially continuing to mentor the Lakers' young corp of players over the summer. Helping the next generation of stars at the franchise develop would be a good use of his talents.

In reality, though, the future Hall of Famer is likely to take a step back from the game for a while at least.

Having made millions on the NBA hardwood and invested it wisely in numerous business ventures, it is probably sensible for Kobe to end his NBA story with that crazy night against Utah.

D'Angelo Russell
L.A. Lakers
Pacific Division
Western Conference
Kobe Bryant
Nick Young

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