Top 5 individual scores in a career-finale game
It is a dream for a lot of players to have a great farewell game. It gets increasingly tougher to score high points as a player gets older and therefore, it requires players to push their limits to pull off legendary performances in the career-finale game.
After playing in the NBA for a lot of years, it is only fitting that players get a final game that they truly deserve. While a lot of players are not fortunate enough to have a fitting farewell game, there are few players who will be remembered for their performances in the final game of their respective careers.
Kobe Bryant's performance of 60 points against Utah Jazz in his farewell game at Staples Center will be remembered for a very long time by the basketball fraternity. The Lakers went on to win the game at home. Though the Lakers could not qualify to the playoffs that season, this game gave the Lakers fans a lot of moments to cherish.
In the history of NBA, there are very few instances where a player was able to score more than 20 points in the final of his career. Here are the 5 players who scored most points in their respective career finale games.
#5 Walter Davis
Stat line: 20 points, 1 assist on 50.0% shooting
Walter Davis was selected by the Phoenix Suns as the 5th overall pick in the 1977 NBA draft. He went on to win the Rookie of the Year award in the 1978 season when he averaged his career-high 24.2 points and 6.0 rebounds. Davis was a 6-time NBA All-Star and played shooting guard and small forward. He played 16 seasons in the NBA and averaged 18.9 points, 3.8 assists, 3.0 rebounds and 1.2 steals per game.
Davis who was remembered for his days with Phoenix Suns made it to the post-season 10 times in his career but was not fortunate enough to win a championship. He was 2-time All-NBA Second Team and his jersey No.6 was retired by the Phoenix Suns.
In his last season, Denver Nuggets finished 11th in the Western Conference and could not make it to the playoffs. In their final game of the season against Dallas Mavericks, Walter came off the bench and scored 20 points in the final game of his career after playing for only 19 minutes. He went for 10-20 from the field with a field-goal percentage of 50. Though the Nuggets went on to lose the game, it was Walter Davis' performance that gave fans reason to smile.
#4 Wilt Chamberlain
Stat line: 23 points, 21 rebounds, 3 assists on 56.3% shooting
This name needs no introduction. Wilt Chamberlain is widely known as one of the greatest NBA players of all-time. Wilt was a 13-time All-Star and known for his unique record of 100 points in an NBA game. Wilt was the Rookie of the year in 1960.
A career filled with accolades, Wilt Chamberlain was a 7-time scoring champion, 11-time rebounding champion. After playing in the NBA for 14 seasons, Chamberlain averaged a very rare double-double with 30.1 points, 22.9 rebounds and 4.4 assists per game. His jersey No.13 was retired by all the three teams that he had played for in his career.
Wilt spent the last 5 seasons of his career with the Los Angeles Lakers. In his final season, the Los Angeles Lakers finished as conference champions and lost to the New York Knicks in the NBA Finals in five games. After winning the first game of the finals, Lakers went on to lose the next four consecutive games.
In game 5, Wilt Chamberlain had a double-double scoring 23 points, 21 rebounds, 3 assists. He went for 9-16 from the field with a field-goal percentage of 56.3. The Bill Bradley and Earl Monroe duo was too much to handle for Lakers and following the season, Wilt retired.
#3 Dave Bing/Julius Erving/Sam Jones
Dave Bing was a 7-time NBA All-Star, Rookie of the year in 1967, 2-time All-NBA First Team, scoring champion of 1968 season. In his 12 seasons in the NBA, he averaged 20.3 points, 3.8 rebounds, 6.0 assists per game.
In the final game of his career, playing for Boston Celtics, Dave Bing scored 24 points in a win against the Buffalo Braves. The Celtics finished the season 32-50 and failed to make it to the playoffs.
Julius Erving is the only player to have won MVP award both in ABA and NBA. He is widely recognized as the greatest sixer of all-time. He spent all 11 seasons of his NBA career with the Philadelphia 76ers and averaged 24.2 points, 8.5 rebounds, 4.2 assists per game.
He played the final game of his career against the Milwaukee Bucks in the Eastern Conference First Round. Erving scored 24 points but was not very efficient from the field as he went for 10-24 from the field with a field-goal percentage of 41.7. The 76ers lost to Bucks and were eliminated from the playoffs.
Sam Jones is a 10-time NBA Champion, 5-time NBA All-Star. He has played in the NBA for 12 seasons and never missed the playoffs. Sam averaged 17.7 points, 4.9 rebounds, 2.5 assists per game during his 12 season long career.
In the final game of his career, Same Jones scored 24 points against the Los Angeles Lakers and helped the Celtics defeat Lakers to clinch the title. Sam Jones was very efficient from the field as he shot 10-16 from the field with a field-goal percentage of 62.5. Jerry West's 42 points were not enough to stop Celtics from winning yet another title.
#2 Reggie Miller
Stat line: 27 points, 2 rebounds, 2 assists, on 68.8% shooting
Reggie Miller is one of the greatest to ever play for the Indiana Pacers. He has played all 18 seasons of his career for the Pacers. Reggie was a 5-time All-Star, 3-time All-NBA Third Team Selection and also part of the very prestigious 50-40-90 club.
Miller was called as "Knick Killer" for his magnificent shooting against the New York Knicks. He is currently second on the list of all time 3-point field goals made leaders. His jersey No. 31 was retired by the Indiana Pacers.
Reggie Miller's final game of the career came against Detroit Pistons in 2005 NBA Playoffs. Though the Pacers lost the game and were eliminated from the playoffs, the game will be remembered for Reggie's heroics. He went for 27 points shooting 11-16 from the field with a field-goal percentage of 68.8. He shot 4-8 from behind the arc with a 3-point field-goal percentage of 50.
#1 Kobe Bryant
Stat line: 60 points, 4 rebounds, 4 assists, 1 block and 1 steal on 44.0% shooting
Kobe Bryant is a 5-time NBA champion who spent his entire 20-season year with the Los Angeles Lakers. The 18-time NBA All-Star won the Finals MVP two times during his long career. The first guard to play at least 20 seasons, Kobe Bryant is one of the greatest basketball players of all-time.
Over his 20-season long career, Kobe Bryant averaged 25.0 points, 5.2 rebounds, 4.7 assists per game. He became one of the very few players to get both the jerseys retired when the Lakers retired his jersey No.8 and No.24.
Kobe Bryant played his final game against Utah Jazz in 2016. The Lakers were out of playoffs contention and were on a 6 game losing streak entering the 82nd and the last game of the season.
Kobe Bryant exploded for 60 points to beat the Utah Jazz. He played for a season-high 42 minutes and went for 22-50 from the field with a field-goal percentage of 44.0. It was an electrifying performance and the crowd erupted when Kobe reached 60 points sinking two clutch free throws. A player who has achieved almost everything there is in the NBA, he ended his career the way only he could.