There have been some incredible and unforgettable moments between the Phoenix Suns and Los Angeles Lakers since Kobe Bryant joined the NBA. Bryant, who Jerry Colangelo has said had atop his draft board in 1996 before ultimately selecting Steve Nash, has been one of the best to ever play the game and had some of his highest and lowest moments of his career in Downtown Phoenix.
On Wednesday, March 23, 2016, Bryant said farewell to Phoenix playing his final game against the Suns. He scored 17 points with three rebounds before a crowd that went nuts every time he touched the ball. Celebrities like Larry Fitzgerald, Mike Trout, Matt Kemp, Yasiel Puig, Calais Campbell and even Tommy Lasorda showed to watch it in person.
After the game Bryant discussed the emotions of his final game in Phoenix, reflected on the incredible rivalry the Suns and Lakers had and had great praise for young Sun Devin Booker.
Booker shared his thoughts on his first time getting to square off against the future Hall-of-Famer.
“Obviously a guy like that, he has more knowledge than me, so he was just spilling it to me,” Booker said of Bryant after the game. “I was just open ears to him, trying to be a sponge and I’m happy with what I got out of it. It’s just something I will remember for the rest of my life and tell my kids about.”
Bryant played 87 career games against the Suns including 23 in the postseason. He scored 2,330 which is the second most all-time against Phoenix behind Kareem Abdul-Jabar (3,029). His 26.7 points per game vs the Suns is the most of any playing at least 35 games against them. The only two players to have multiple 50+ point games against the Suns are Kobe and Michael Jordan.