Over the years some of the greats in professional sports close out their careers with ceremonial farewell tours.
Some left their sport of their own accord. Many, though, played a season or two longer than they should have and were a shell of the once greatness they graced us with.
No longer a big fan of NBA basketball, I didn’t witness Kobe Bryant’s farewell tour. I did, however, see his final game in a Los Angeles Laker uniform.
Having battled through injuries over the past three seasons that limited his skill set, the third all-time leading scorer in NBA history (33,643 points) gave fans one last cherished memory.
Kobe scored 60 points in 42 minutes of action, the most points ever by a player in their final game. The 37-year-old also took an amazing 50 shots as his teammates looked afraid to hoist a shot.
It’s not the most field goals ever attempted. Wilt Chamberlain attempted 63 shots when he scored 100 points against the New York Knicks on March 2, 1962.
As mind-boggling as the 50 shots Kobe took, the revenue his final appearance generated is off the charts. In his final appearance at Los Angeles’ Staples Center, another record was established — $1.2 million worth of Kobe merchandise was sold, a single-day sales record for any arena in the world.
The average fan inside the arena spent $61 on merchandise alone, with the average bill being $230. That was after forking out ransom money for a ticket.
• Courtside tickets, which are normally $1,000-$2,000, went for $27,500. The average price of tickets that sold for the game was $1,403.22, versus $208.39 for a regular game.
Thank God I am eligible for working press credentials.
• Most of the hats, more than 60 percent of which sold out, cost $72.48 each.
Ten dollars for the straw hats I wear seems high.
• There were eight hats made out of snake and lamb skin that cost $38,024 and eight hats made from cashmere with five diamonds on it that cost $24,008. Only three went unsold.
I don’t want to wear anything made with snake or lamb skin.
• All snakeskin-texture jerseys that retailed for $424 each and a limited-edition version of the jersey, with only 248 made, sold for $824 each.
One ticket holder walked into the crowded main team store about an hour before tipoff and purchased 20 of the $824 jerseys, which came in a commemorative box.
That’s insane. What do these people do for a living?
• Of 24 leather jackets with Swarovski crystals, that retailed for $5,824, only three remained at night’s end.
Where do you wear something like that?
• To commemorate the final game, the Lakers gifted Kobe and his wife 4.87 carat retirement rings (no price revealed) that each have a small strip of snakeskin on them.
A luxury suite for the family would have been nice.
For one night, the Lakers were back reliving the glory years and the player who was part of that was right in the middle, soaking it all in. Thanks for the memories Kobe.