The Golden State Warriors set an NBA record Wednesday night. But it was Los Angeles Lakers superstar Kobe Bryant who set social media ablaze.
Hollywood stars, loyal fans and fellow pro ballers took to Twitter to celebrate the Lakers legend, who closed out his 20-year career in storybook fashion. Comments about Bryant dominated Twitter, the way the forward/guard, who scored 60 points in his final game, dominated the Utah Jazz.
Cleveland Cavaliers' star LeBron James heaped plenty of praise on his rival:
And our favorite rapper, Kanye West, tweeted a copy of his ticket:
Bryant's swan song was clearly the winner on social media. But at one point during his instant classic and the Warriors' 125-104 romp over the Memphis Grizzlies, responses on Twitter overloaded the social network, causing a brief outage.
The Warriors weren't forgotten on social media. Their victory set an NBA single-season record, with 73 wins, and inspired its share of tweets. Bryant and the Lakers won out though. From 7:30 to 10:30 p.m. PT, more than 2.8 million tweets referenced the Lakers star, according to Brandwatch, which analyzes social media. The Warriors garnered just 238,000 tweets during that time, less than a tenth of Bryant's total.
"The Warriors' conversation never threatened to outshine Kobe," said Kellan Terry, a Brandwatch data analyst.
After the game, the 18-time All Star and five-time NBA champion said he couldn't imagine a finer way to end his career.
"You can't write something better than this," he said during a postgame news conference.
Still, the Warriors got noticed in high places. Basketball fan Barack Obama, who also happens to be the president of the United States (and a diehard Chicago Bulls fan), chimed in via Twitter to offer his recognition of the team's accomplishment:
@POTUS tweeted further on the "big night of basketball," praising the Warriors and Bryant. The president even tossed in memes of Warriors star Stephen Curry celebrating during a game, and of the impression Obama did of Curry during the team's recent visit to the White House:
But the social media star of stars was Bryant, whose nickname is the Black Mamba. The moniker became a popular hashtag on Twitter, as did other Bryant-related words and phrases, including #mambaday, a promotion from Nike that featured a signature shoe emoji, and #thankyoukobe, which adorned the outside of Staples Center, the Lakers' arena. The hashtags generated tens of thousands of tweets and retweets leading up to Bryant's last game, according to Brandwatch.
"What can I say?" said Bryant in his final words to Lakers' fans. "Mamba -- out!"