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Apr 14, 2016
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Thursday will be filled with all sorts of emotions as Kobe Bryant plays his last NBA game.

Yes, the day has come for the Los Angeles Lakers legend to lace up his shoes for the final time, against the Utah Jazz at home. And whether he scores 50—in response to former teammate Shaquille O'Neal's challenge—or not, the man also known as Vino has put up enough baskets during his two-decade career for fans and even haters to remember him by.

The effect of Kobe has on game is no doubt felt by the whole basketball fandom and those around him, not only fortunate teammates but even opposing teams that he menaced night in and night out.

Need proof? Just take a look at the most sentimental parting gifts he received from rival squads and a handful of influential figures during some of his road arena visits in the twilight of his career:


During his 18th and final All-Star Game in Toronto earlier this year, a fitting tribute was bestowed upon Kobe, led by another Laker great, Magic Johnson.


The Oklahoma City Thunder took the sentimental factor up a notch by having their farewell video narrated by Kobe's high school coach, Gregg Downer.


Surely it's not just the Utah crowd who had developed a love-hate relationship with the Mamba, but the fans at the Vivint Smart Home Arena in Salt Lake City are probably among the few who hold a special place in his heart.


The San Antonio Spurs is the only Western Conference team that came the closest to the Lakers' dominance in the 2000s. You know you're something when even coach Gregg Popovich speaks highly of you.


Speaking of his opponents, Nike Basketball enlisted a chorus of Kobe "haters" to sing the Black Mamba a goodbye song. And look who's conducting the number...

What if in some parallel universe Kobe ended up playing for his hometown? Despite being one of the Philadelphia 76ers' primary tormentors (especially during the 2001 NBA Finals), the city honored him and reminded the "kid from Philly" of his roots.


How do you salute one of the most poignant players to ever set foot on the court? How about a poignant poem rendered by Grammy Award-winning rapper, Kendrick Lamar.


A tribute montage wouldn't be complete without one coming from the man who made the Kobe Bryant-Los Angeles Lakers union possible, NBA legend and current Golden State Warriors executive, Jerry "The Logo" West.

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Last, but definitely not the least, the ultimate show of respect from the player whom Kobe has been compared to the most, Michael Jordan (with a little help from the Jumbotron at the Time Warner Cable Arena).

You're making us cry, MJ!

 

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