Lakers go all out for Kobe's finale, give away Kobe toy helicopter

Dan Devine

You might not have heard this — we've been keeping it kind of hush-hush over here — but Kobe Bryant will play in the final game of his 20-year NBA career on Wednesday night, suiting up in the purple and gold one last time to lead the Los Angeles Lakers against the Utah Jazz before officially heading off into retirement. As you might expect, the Lakers are making kind of a big deal about this whole thing, turning everything about Staples Center and the surrounding area into a gigantic signifier of how much the five-time NBA champion has meant to the franchise over the last two decades.

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"Like I told [Kobe]: 'This is the last hurrah. Let's have some fun. Let's go out with a bang,'" Lakers head coach Byron Scott said after shootaround on Wednesday, according to ESPN.com's Baxter Holmes.

The Lakers have gone all-in on the celebratory atmosphere, wrapping the building in action shots from his proudest moments:

They put a bunch more on a huge rotating cube outside the arena, which is nice, because that way you can see them all if you just stand still for a minute:

They also erected a massive mural that fans could sign with their farewell wishes for Kobe:

... which they did:

I'm not sure the Lakers themselves organized this one, but either way, it's pretty cool: Had he looked to the sky above L.A. on Wednesday afternoon, Kobe could have gotten his Ice Cube on, seeing the lights of the Goodyear Blimp as it read:

... something different than it did for Cube. (Probably for the best.)

Once inside Staples, the swag really cranks up a notch, courtesy of Kobe's dear friends at Nike:

And in case you're in the market for reading material more than you are another T-shirt:

The gifts get a bit fancier, pricier and more specific the closer you get to the court, of course:

I'm sorry: A "Kobe ROBOJAM" figure? What is that, exactly? Help me, eBay Wan — you're my only hope:

LA Lakers' Kobe Bryant is currently one of the top players in the NBA and what better way to celebrate an awesome player than with the Kobe Bryant Robojam [3.5 channel infrared radio-controlled] Helicopter, the officially NBA licensed RC helicopter in his own likeness. This is a fun way to celebrate your favorite NBA team and player with your friends at your next tailgate party! It features 3.5 channel IR control and an internal gyro for increased stability. And it is RTF (Ready To Fly) out of the box. Rally the team and root for your favorite player with the Kobe Bryant Robojam 3.5CH IR RC Helicopter!

Yep — in addition to six T-shirts, sneakers and a hat, those sitting courtside at Lakers-Jazz will get a KOBE BRYANT ACTION FIGURE THAT TURNS INTO A HELICOPTER:

And why not? Helicopters, as they have throughout the latter stages of Bryant's career, played a role in helping the man arrive on time on Wednesday:

Just one thing about the action figures, though: not all observers find the likeness particularly striking:

Oh, well. Everyone's a critic!

Here's hoping the famed red-jacketed security at Staples can keep the well-heeled fans up front from unleashing their Mambacopters during live action. After all, we wouldn't want one to make its way up into the rafters and prematurely cut down the celebratory balloons positioned overhead:

We probably don't have to worry too much about that. Their attention will most likely stay focused on the floor — especially considering the Lakers and Jazz will be playing on a very special signature surface featuring both of the numbers Kobe made famous in his 20-year run:

It all adds up to what promises to be an exceptionally festive atmosphere at Staples — one wholly incongruous with the immediate reality of a 16-65 team squaring off against a 40-41 Jazz squad whose season will likely for all intents and purposes be over before tipoff, owing to the Houston Rockets' expected victory over the Sacramento Kings to snare the West's final playoff spot, but that remains wholly appropriate for saying farewell to one of the greatest players ever to wear a Laker uniform. Fly your ROBOJAM 'copters with pride, I say, Lakers fans. This is all supposed to be fun. Act accordingly.

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Dan Devine is an editor for Ball Don't Lie on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at devine@yahoo-inc.com or follow him on Twitter!

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