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Kobe Bryant Told Byron Scott He Was Retiring During a Game

Brace Hemmelgarn/USA TODAY Sports

Kobe Bryant announced his retirement last Sunday, and Los Angeles Lakers head coach Byron Scott was the first to know that announcement was coming. Scott revealed just when Bryant told him in an interview with ESPN’s Baxter Holmes on Friday, and it turns out it was DURING a game.

The exchange happened at the beginning of the third quarter of the Lakers’ 108-96 loss to the Portland Trail Blazers last Saturday. Scott had just played Bryant 20 minutes in the first half, and the coach initiated a conversation about cutting the minutes in the second half. Here’s what Kobe said to that:

“He said, ‘That’s good, coach. That’s all right. I’m going to announce my retirement after the game.'”

Needless to say, Scott was shocked, and he went on to say that Kobe was clearly at peace with the decision. The two exchanged text messages after the game as the team boarded its charter flight, and then Bryant released his farewell poem on The Players’ Tribune the next day.

Since that announcement, the Kobe Bryant Retirement Tour has been underway, but he doesn’t want any crazy fanfare when he plays his final games in cities across the league:

Good move, Kobe.

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