Kobe Bryant Returns to Hometown, Philadelphia 76ers Win First Game

By Devon Newport (devon.newport@mstarsnews.com) | Dec 02, 2015 08:49 PM EST
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Kobe Bryant returned to his hometown of Philadelphia for the first time since he announced his retirement, the occasion also doubling as his last visit. And while Bryant would get off to a hot start, hitting three pointers on each of the Lakers first three possessions, he wound up shooting a sub-par 7-for-26 from the field. The Philly faithful would witness history of another sort, however, with the 76ers claiming their first win on the year.

The 76ers entered Tuesday's game with the Lakers 0-18, tying the league's mark for worst ever start to a season. However, their winless run actually dated all the way back to last season, giving them a combined 28 consecutive losses, via USA Today. That streak was finally snapped with their 103-91 win over Kobe Bryant and the Lakers on Tuesday night.

"Obviously this is a relief on many levels, but we're going to get greedy," 76ers coach Brett Brown said, via USA Today. "We want a little bit more."

"We've been positive and continuing to work knowing that this time to get a 'W' would come," said Nerlens Noel, forward for the 76ers. "Finally, it did. Us as a group, as a unit, stayed so close together. Finally, it paid off. Now we've got some momentum and some confidence knowing we can close out games."

With the loss, the Lakers fall to 2-15, good enough for the worst record in the Western Conference. But despite the loss, the occasion still proved to be a special, and emotional, one for Bryant.

"It was emotional," Bryant said, via Press of Atlantic City. "I try not to be emotional in public, but that got to me."

It wasn't just the Philly fans that were enjoying the moment, either; some of the 76er players seemed to be caught up in Bryant's now larger than life like aura.

"You forget that Jahlil hadn't even been born when Kobe started playing," said Brown, via Press of Atlantic City. "They were star struck, watching Kobe Bryant."

Afterward, Bryant talked about one special moment during the game.

"We line up, and McConnell goes 'I can't believe I'm about to line up for a jump ball against you. This is crazy,'" Bryant said, via Press of Atlantic City. "You have moments like that, and you can't help but laugh."

The Kobe farewell tour is officially underway. And while the basketball may not cooperate with him, or the Lakers, as much as it once did, it's clear that the fans and players have never loved him more.

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