Kobe Bryant's NBA Career: First Game Wildly Different Than Last

Kobe Bryant was only 18 years old in his NBA debut in 1996.

— -- Last night, Kobe Bryant played his final game in the NBA. He went out with a swoosh--or a few dozen--scoring 60 points to lead the Los Angeles Lakers to a 101-96 victory over the Utah Jazz.

Bryant's spectacular last game was as different as can be from his scoreless NBA debut nearly 20 years ago. The 37-year old star's career has been a long and memorable one for the NBA.

In 1996, Bryant was drafted 13th overall by the Charlotte Hornets, then traded to the Los Angeles Lakers.

Bryant was 18 years old and fresh out of high school in his first game against the Minnesota Timberwolves on Nov. 3, 1996. Bryant played for only six minutes and didn't score any points, but the Lakers won. He did score a point two days later against the New York Knicks, when he played for a grand total of three minutes.

Within a few years, he was part of the best franchise in the game. Along with fellow Lakers star Shaquille O'Neal, then led by coach Phil Jackson, Bryant would help the franchise win three consecutive championships between 2000 to 2002.

Shaquille O'Neal and other NBA stars were among those who attended Bryant's last game at Staples Center, the current home of the Lakers after they left the Forum in 1999.

“I knew coming into the night, I just didn’t want to play bad,” Bryant said during a news conference after his final game. “I just wanted to focus on the game. I had a little bit of nerves, but they were able to settle down.”