Trail Blazers

Kobe Bryant absolutely loved it that Trail Blazers fans boo'd him, hated him

Trail Blazers

The final buzzer sounded and the crowd roared. But, it wasn't because the Trail Blazers handed the Los Angeles Lakers yet another defeat. 

It was Kobe Bryant's final game in Portland on January 23rd, 2016. 

Bryant, who was retiring after 20 seasons in the NBA, finished with 10 points on 5-of-9 shooting, and added two rebounds and one assist in 24 minutes.

Bryant amassed a 27.9-point career scoring average in Portland. Blazers fans didn't take it easy on him during the game. He was booed throughout the game by Blazers fans, a fitting tribute, and was cheered wildly by a strong Lakers following. 

"That's what it's been my entire career," Kobe Bryant said in the locker room after his final game in Portland. "Why would I want it to be any different? Why would the fans want it to be any different?"

The boos, every time I touched it-- I absolutely loved it.

Kobe Bryant

But after the game, as he left the court, Bryant raised his hands to the crowd, and tapped his heart. Then he applauded every corner of the arena before departing. The arena erupted in chants of "Ko-be Bry-ant!"

The rivalry between Rip City and Kobe was over. Now, it was time to honor one of the greatest players to ever step foot on the basketball court. 

"The mutual respect-- you can actually show it now. One fan courtside said, 'man, I'm going to miss hating you.'"

 

"I said, 'thank you, I'm going to miss loving the fact that you hate me.'"