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Before Black Mamba hit the court for the last time, we chatted with some of his biggest fans.

Last night's Lakers home game against the Utah Jazz wasn't just the last of the season, but also marked the last game of superstar Kobe Bryant 20 seasons in the NBA. Thousands of fans flocked to Staples Center to celebrate, holding impromptu rallies and breaking out into spontaneous chants to his name and playing pick up street ball while the sun set across the city and on his career. There were cardboard cut outs, posters galore and even an inflatable likeness that towered over the crowd.

Even off the court he's been a part of the pop-culture fabric, from iconic Sprite commercials, to a brief stint rapping (including a Destiny's Child remix) and even taking Brandy to prom. Given his status as one of the greats and most visible players in NBA history, we asked fans gathered outside of Staples Center for their thoughts about his highs and lows and what's next.




Lisa, 18

How long have you been following Kobe? Since I was born
What’s your favorite Kobe moment? The game where he scored 81 points.
What should he do in retirement? Kick back and spend time with his family.
What would have made his rap career more successful? Rap career? He had one?
If you could ask Kobe any question, what would it be? “Will you marry me?”



Deshawn, 27

How long have you been following Kobe? Since he was a rookie.
What’s your favorite Kobe moment? My favorite Kobe moment was the beginning of the 3-peat. Just to be there at the start of his dynasty and to see the greatness from the beginning.
What should he do in retirement? I think he has already given us a lot of greatness. If he wants to relax and live his life, that’s cool, but I would like him to mentor the young players a little bit more. Stick with the Lakers in that way. Besides that, I feel he’s done a lot and lived in the limelight long enough so he can retire now.
What would have made his rap career more successful? If he never did it [laughs].
If you could ask Kobe any question, what would it be? “Wanna play 1 on 1?”



Matthew, 34

How long have you been following Kobe? Since he first started, since he came straight out of high school. I’ve been a Lakers fan since Magic Johnson.
What’s your favorite Kobe moment? The alley oop to Shaq [in Game 7 of the 2000 Western Championship Finals]. 
What should he do in retirement? Either coach or be a talking head and do interview on TNT.
What would have made his rap career more successful? If he would’ve just kept going with it.
If you could ask Kobe any question, what would it be? “Why are you retiring?”



Muneeb, 16

How long have you been following Kobe? A few years, 6 or 7 years at least, since I was super little. Since I first watched him on TV.
What’s your favorite Kobe moment? Definitely the game winner over Dwayne Wade.
What should he do in retirement? Hopefully coach this team. I know he doesn’t wanna, but that would be nice!
What would have made his rap career more successful? I didn’t really know much about it. I know he was there, but I heard it wasn’t that good. Maybe better producers?
If you could ask Kobe any question, what would it be? “Can I have all the shoes you have?”




Saad, 17

How long have you been following Kobe? A long time, 7 or 8 years.
What’s your favorite Kobe moment? 81 points.
What should he do in retirement? Seeing him just relax, take time off, find better things, but still be connected with the NBA.
What would have made his rap career more successful? Get Shaq with him!
If you could ask Kobe any question, what would it be? “Can I get you autograph?” Just talk to him.




Joey, 15

How long have you been following Kobe? Since the day I was born. My brother’s name is Kobe.
What’s your favorite Kobe moment? When he won against the Celtics in 2010.
What should he do in retirement? Coach.
What would have made his rap career more successful? [crickets]
If you could ask Kobe any question, what would it be? “Can I be a part of your family?”



David, 33

How long have you been following Kobe? Since he came in the game.
What’s your favorite Kobe moment? It’s gotta be the 81 points, definitely. that means he’s better than Jordan, the GOAT.
What should he do in retirement? I’d like to see him work for the Lakers organization. I don’t see him coaching. Perfect people have trouble teaching because no one else can reach the perfection they’ve reached, but I see him doing something. Maybe scouting for us, bringing some people in for us, do something behind the scenes.
What would have made his rap career more successful? Not rapping.
If you could ask Kobe any question, what would it be? “What do you think about D Russ my boy?” That would be a tough question to be real. I’d have to be sitting in front of Kobe and I’d be without words.



Anthony, 26

How long have you been following Kobe? 1996.
What’s your favorite Kobe moment? 81 points.
What should he do in retirement? Relax and enjoy it or coach.
What would have made his rap career more successful? Not starting.
If you could ask Kobe any question, what would it be? “What’s next?”



Harry, 16

How long have you been following Kobe? I’ve been following Kobe about 8 years already. My dad took me to a Lakers game at Staples Center in 2008 and I’d never known basketball before. It was my first game. Everyone kept talking about this guy named Kobe Bryant and I was like, “Who’s this guy?” Then I saw him on the court and after that i started watching Lakers games and saw him winning those two titles in 2009 and 2010.
What’s your favorite Kobe moment? The 81 points he put up here n Staples Center against the Raptors on a Sunday.
What should he do in retirement? I think he’s going to take his time and think about it. I mean he’s been in the NBA for 20 seasons already and it’s up to him what he wants to do, but I think if he wants to do something here for the Laker organization, he probably will, but if not, he’ll do something eventually. He’s got mamba, he’s got shoes, he’s got shirts; an empire.
What would have made his rap career more successful? Kobe did it early in his career, now he’s even more of a phenomenon.
If you could ask Kobe any question, what would it be? I’d just want to say “thank you for all you’ve done for this organization, for the history and I appreciate everything. You led me to this game of basketball, thank you for everything.”




Judy, 20

How long have you been following Kobe? Since I was about 5.
What’s your favorite Kobe moment? The 2-peat championship.
What should he do in retirement? I think he should take over the Lakers.
If you could ask Kobe any question, what would it be? “What’s your favorite Mexican dish?”

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