Two greats hugged it out at center court Wednesday night with LeBron James sauntering over for an embrace from Kobe Bryant as the Cavaliers topped the Lakers in Cleveland 120–111.
The two friends flashed their mutual respect as the retiring Bryant received a standing ovation from the Cavaliers faithful in his last-ever game at Quicken Loans Arena. Kobe waved as he checked out and headed for the bench, fans calling his name.
It was the latest stop on a Lakers season so frustrating at times that Bryant’s retirement tour has proven some type of respite for the franchise from a P.R. standpoint. To Bryant’s credit, his last six games have been steady, if not spectacular—he scored 17 on 5-of-16 shooting and is averaging nearly 25 points over that span.
James finished with 29 points and 11 assists as Cleveland improved to 38–14. L.A. fell to 11–44.
The two men will meet again Sunday in Toronto as All-Stars, James starting for the East and Bryant for the West after winning the fan vote for his final All-Star Game.
- Jeremy Woo