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No rest for gym rat Kobe after league farewell

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Five of Kobe Bryant's Greatest Feats

Just a few hours after producing a Hollywood-style script to end his 20-year career in the NBA with an astonishing 60-point display, Kobe Bryant was preparing to head back to the gym to stay in tip-top shape.

Aged 37, the five-times NBA champion is renowned for his extraordinary work ethic and though his competitive days with the Los Angeles Lakers are over, he was determined to stick to much of the same gym routine he has followed with such discipline.

"I have to," Bryant, still wearing his beloved No. 24 jersey, told a packed news conference at Staples Center after engineering an exciting, come-from-behind 101-96 win over the Utah Jazz on his much anticipated league farewell on Wednesday.

"That's a slippery slope. I've done some research from players post-career, and it goes, 'Tomorrow, tomorrow, tomorrow.' Then all of a sudden it's, 'Uh oh.' The important thing is to get into a routine, to maintain discipline.

"I have been in a certain routine my entire career. The worst thing I can possibly do is not have one because then you wake up without a sense of purpose, a sense of direction. I have to find a routine, get into it and be comfortable with it."

Bryant had a crystal-clear sense of purpose during his stellar career with the Lakers, lighting up the league with a stunning ability to close out games as he helped the Los Angeles franchise to seven NBA Finals and five titles.

RELIVE KOBE'S DRAMATIC FINAL GAME:

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Kobe Bryant's last game
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No rest for gym rat Kobe after league farewell
Apr 13, 2016; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Lakers forward Kobe Bryant (24) waves to the crowd as he walks on the court before a game against the Utah Jazz at Staples Center. Bryant concludes his 20-year NBA career tonight. Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 13, 2016; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Lakers forward Kobe Bryant (24) tries to drive against Utah Jazz guard Shelvin Mack (8) in the first quarter at Staples Center. Bryant concludes his 20-year NBA career tonight. Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports
LOS ANGELES, CA - APRIL 13: Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers reacts in the first quarter against the Utah Jazz at Staples Center on April 13, 2016 in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - APRIL 13: Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers reacts in the first quarter against the Utah Jazz at Staples Center on April 13, 2016 in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - APRIL 13: Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers acknowledges the crowd before taking on the Utah Jazz in Bryant's final NBA game at Staples Center on April 13, 2016 in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - APRIL 13: Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers reaches for the ball in the first half while taking on the Utah Jazz at Staples Center on April 13, 2016 in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - APRIL 13: Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers smiles and claps before taking on the Utah Jazz in Bryant's final NBA game at Staples Center on April 13, 2016 in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - APRIL 13: Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers hugs head coach Byron Scott before taking on the Utah Jazz in Bryant's final NBA game at Staples Center on April 13, 2016 in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - APRIL 13: Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers waves to the crowd before taking on the Utah Jazz in Bryant's final NBA game at Staples Center on April 13, 2016 in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - APRIL 13: Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers talks to journalists, Mike Tirico and Lisa Salters before the game against the Utah Jazz on April 13, 2016 at Staples Center in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2016 NBAE (Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images)
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Stunningly, that same closing ability was front and center for his league farewell as he almost single-handedly guided his team back from a 15-point deficit at halftime to a mind-boggling win over the Jazz as he poured in shots from everywhere.

"This is kind of crazy to me," said the 18-times All-Star, who made 22 of 50 shots in 42 minutes to end his career with 33,643 career points, the third highest total ever in the NBA.

"It's hard for me to believe that it happened this way. I'm still in shock about it."

Bryant, watched at a sellout Staples Center by several of his former team mates including Shaquille O'Neal, Lamar Odom, Robert Horry, Rick Fox and Derek Fisher, was highly amused that his longtime reputation of being a ball-hog was now forgotten.

"My team mates were just continuing to encourage me, continuing to say, 'Dude, shoot, shoot, shoot, shoot'," Bryant grinned. "It's like reverse.

"Go from being the villain to now being some type of a hero. And go from everybody saying, 'Pass the ball!' to saying, 'Shoot the ball!'."

Lakers coach Byron Scott, who won three NBA titles with the LA franchise as a player and has seen pretty much everything in the league over the years, was stunned by Bryant's ending to his career.

"It was incredible," said Scott. "I've never witnessed anything like it. Kind of put everybody on his back and carried them, carried the game and took it over. It's mind boggling."

KOBE BRYANT THROUGH THE YEARS:

12 PHOTOS
Kobe Bryant's career
See Gallery
No rest for gym rat Kobe after league farewell
CLEVELAND - FEBRUARY 8: Kobe Bryant #8 of the Los Angeles Lakers soars for a dunk during the 1997 Nestle Crunch Slam Dunk Contest on February 8, 1997 at the Gund Arena in Cleveland, Ohio. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 1997 NBAE (Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images)
CHICAGO, UNITED STATES: Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant(L) and Chicago Bulls guard Michael Jordan(R) talk during a free-throw attempt during the fourth quarter 17 December at the United Center in Chicago. Bryant, who is 19 and bypassed college basketball to play in the NBA, scored a team-high 33 points off the bench, and Jordan scored a team-high 36 points. The Bulls defeated the Lakers 104-83. AFP PHOTO VINCENT LAFORET (Photo credit should read VINCENT LAFORET/AFP/Getty Images)
NEW YORK CITY - FEBRUARY 8: Kobe Bryant #8 of the Los Angeles Lakers dunks during the 1998 NBA All-Star Game played on February 8, 1998 at Madison Square Garden in New York City. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 1998 NBAE (Photo by Steve Freeman/NBAE via Getty Images)
03/02/98 - MCI Center - Lakers' Kobie Bryant(L) listens to teammate Shaquille O'Neal as they sit on the bench during game against the Wizards. - Photo By Rich Lipski TWP (Photo by Rich Lipski/The Washington Post/Getty Images)
USA - 1999: Kobe Bryant #8 of the Los Angeles Lakers attempts a layup during a 1999 NBA game. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 1999 NBAE (Photo by Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES - JUNE 19: Shaquille O'Neal #34 and Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers pose with Lakers legend Magic Johnson after winning the NBA Championship trophy after defeating the Indiana Pacers in Game Six of the 2000 NBA Finals on June 19, 2000 at Staples Center in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2000 NBAE (Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)
28 Dec 2001: Kobe Bryant #8 of the Los Angeles Lakers chilling out before their game against the Toronto Raptors at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California. DIGITAL IMAGE. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images Licence Agreement. Mandatory copyright notice: Copyright 2001 NBAE. Mandatory Credit: Catherine Steenkeste/ NBAE/ Getty Images
Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers celebrates victory following Game 5 of the NBA Finals against the Orlando Magic at Amway Arena on June 14, 2009 in Orlando, Florida. The Lakers won the National Basketball Association championships defeating Orlando 99-86 for their 15th title and first since 2002. Bryant had 30 points, eight rebounds and six assists as the Lakers completed a four-games-to-one victory in the best-of-seven NBA Finals. AFP PHOTO / Emmanuel Dunand (Photo credit should read EMMANUEL DUNAND/AFP/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES - FEBRUARY 27: Kobe Bryant #8 of the Los Angeles Lakers goes up for the shot over Ben Wallace #3 of the Detroit Pistons during the game at Staples Center on February 27, 2003 in Los Angeles, California. The Lakers defeated the Pistons 95-85. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory copyright notice: 2003 NBAE. (Photo by: Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE/Getty Images)
SAN ANTONIO - MAY 7: Kobe Bryant #8 of the Los Angeles Lakers answers questions from the press after Game two of the Western Conference Semifinals against the San Antonio Spurs during the 2003 NBA Playoffs at SBC Center on May 7, 2003 in San Antonio, Texas. The Spurs won 114-95. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Copyright 2003 NBAE (Photo by D. Clarke Evans/NBAE via Getty Images)
Kobe Bryant answers questions during a press conference held at the Lakers training facility in El Segundo, Calif.. Thursday, July 15, 2004. Bryant chose the Lakers over the Clippers, remaining with the team he joined in 1996 at age 18 and later helped win three NBA championships. (Photo by Steve Grayson/WireImage)
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