Kobe Bryant's final game in the NBA was one for the ages. The Los Angeles Lakers legend single-handedly dragged his side over the line against all odds.

On his home court against the Utah Jazz, Bryant erupted as he dropped 60 points in one of the all-time individual displays.

Fans relived the incredible display from one of the NBA's fiercest competitors a day after the heartbreaking news broke the legend had died in a helicopter crash alongside his daughter, Gianna, and seven others.

As the tributes flowed in and tears rolled down the faces of basketball fans across the globe, a story from Bryant's final game was brought to light.


NBA commentator Mike Tirico appeared on The Ringer's "Ryen Russillo Podcast" to talk about the life and legacy of Kobe Bryant when he revealed his fondest memory from the game, one most people clearly missed.

With less than 20 seconds remaining and the Lakers holding a two-point advantage, the Jazz fouled Bryant and sent him to the free throw line.

Two points shy of getting to 60 points, Tirico shared the incredible moment Utah star Gordon Hayward did something just for Bryant.

"He hits the first for 59," Tirico said. "He's at the line a second time, and you've gotta watch on the free-throw line, closest to Kobe, back to the camera, is Gordon Hayward. Gordon Hayward steps into the lane as Kobe is about to shoot that last free throw for 60, in case he missed it to give him another shot for 60."

"That, to me, was the most unique example I could give to people of the fraternity of the NBA," Tirico said.

"The reverence for greatness in the NBA is at a different level than any of the other sports that we watch or cover. It was like, Gordon Hayward and his team are losing in this game, they blew a lead, blah blah blah.

"He had the complete wherewithal at 59 to just put a foot in the lane and look over at the ref, just in case Kobe missed it. To make sure he got another shot at 60.

"That is just one of those things that nobody ever remembers, that very few people see, but every time I see Gordon Hayward I think of that, and I'm like, 'You know what dude? You get it. You get it at a level that other people don't', and I'm a fan of yours for life for that."


The incredible tale from Tirico quickly whipped around social media with fans heaping praise on Hayward for the unbelievable act.

Gordon Hayward dispels Kobe Bryant myth. Photo / Supplied/news.com.au
Gordon Hayward dispels Kobe Bryant myth. Photo / Supplied/news.com.au

Unfortunately the tale isn't what it seems as Hayward caught wind of the story and quickly set the record straight by squashing the notion he attempted to "give him something free".

Hayward detailed the final game of the Lakers legend's career in a series of tweets on Tuesday afternoon.

"The past day has been incredibly heartbreaking for me. Kobe is someone that I looked up to and admired and developed a personal relationship with. I have struggled so much with trying to understand the devastating news and like many others I'm still trying to process it.

"It has also come to my attention that there is a story going around tonight about an intentional lane violation that I took to ensure Kobe would get his 60th point in his final game and many are applauding me for the gesture. The fact of the matter is that is not true.

"That was a night that I will truly never forget as I can remember almost every moment of it and my goal that night was to compete as hard as I possibly could against Kobe because that is what he was all about and I wanted to give him my very best.

"He got 60 on me and I didn't give him anything free all night. What happened on the free throw line was not intentional. Kobe would have lost respect for me if I gave him something free. That's what made him so very special!

"Rest In Peace Kobe. I'm so honoured to have shared our time on and off the court together!"

Memories of Bryant's historic career in the NBA will long continue. Through each and every one however just know, as Hayward said, nobody ever gave him anything for free.