When he stepped on the basketball court, Kobe Bryant made magic happen. The Los Angeles Lakers legend played his final NBA game four years ago, and in typical Kobe fashion, he left everything on the floor. However, after delivering his famous “Mamba Out” farewell speech to thousands of Lakers fans, the five-time NBA champion had his towel taken off his shoulders as he exited.
It turns out that that small piece of sweaty history is quite valuable. In fact, one devout Lakers fan recently spent more than $30,000 to acquire Kobe’s farewell speech towel. And when you see what else is in his collection, you’ll realize that that was money well spent.
Kobe Bryant scored 60 points in his final Lakers game
Since the day he first put on a Lakers uniform in 1996, Kobe Bryant represented the city of Los Angeles unlike any other athlete in its history. He went from a high school kid who couldn’t even buy a drink to one of the NBA’s most iconic figures. Along the way, he won five NBA titles, set numerous scoring records and inspired generations of future ballers. Of all of his skills and talents, his competitive drive simply couldn’t be matched.
But once his body began to break down, which included an Achilles tear, Bryant’s numbers began to fade. After scoring 27.3 points per game in the 2012-13 season, Bryant never came near that mark again. In his final season, he averaged 17.6 points per game—his lowest mark as a full-time starter.
Yet, Kobe truly saved his best for last. In a vintage performance, the all-time great delivered a stunning 60-point effort in a win over the Utah Jazz. In fitting fashion, Kobe dominated the possession and attempted 50 shots, sinking 22 of them. The Lakers lost six straight games before Kobe made sure he went out as a winner.
Fan took Kobe’s towel after famous “Mamba Out” speech
Given his stature and influence over generations of fans, players, coaches, teammates and opponents, Kobe delivered a truly memorable speech following his final game. With a Body Armor towel draped over his sizable shoulders, Kobe acknowledged the ups and downs of his NBA journey. He expressed his gratitude for the opportunity to play for the team he obsessed over as a child. And he thanked the Lakers fans for their inspiration, motivation and support during his 20-year career.
Kobe even laughed at how fans wanted him to shoot all night after he endured years of criticism for his reluctancy to pass. When he wrapped up his speech with “Mamba Out”, he made his way to the exits and high-fived Lakers fans along the way. However, one fan managed to steal the towel right off of Bryant’s 6-foot-6 frame.
Lakers collector David Kohler spends $33,000 on Bryant’s farewell speech towel and game tickets
The famous farewell speech towel has had an interesting journey. From covering the shoulders of the legendary No. 24 to finding its way into the hands of a fan, it’s certainly a story worth reading about.
The fan who originally took the towel actually sold it for $8,365 at a 2016 auction. However, that paled in comparison to what one Lakers superfan paid last month.
David Kohler recently bid and won both the towel and two tickets from Kobe’s final game for the tidy sum of $33,077.16. He purchased the items through Iconic Auctions. President Jeff Woolf explained to CNN’s Amanda Jackson that Kohler has the largest collection of Lakers memorabilia in the world.
“He is a devoted Lakers fan,” Woolf said. “His long-term plan is to create a museum in Southern California.”
Amazingly, the avid Lakers collector also made another pricey purchase in early March. He paid almost $30,000 for a middle school yearbook signed by Kobe Bryant.