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Lakers fan brings back THE KOBE MASK for Kobe's final game at the Verizon Center

Editor's Note: Longtime readers of the site may remember Michael Katz, who wrote Bullets Forever back in the day. Now he's doing bigger and better things as the Social Media Editor at SB Nation, but he had a quick story he wanted to pass along about the one Lakers fan at Wednesday's game who was pretty cool.

WASHINGTON - The Kobe farewell tour is a surreal sight, and Wednesday the Verizon Center was packed with Lakers fans. It understandably rankled a lot of Wizards fans, but come on there was one face you can't be mad at: @CaptainHYPE aka KOBE MASK GUY.

D.C. Sports Internet historians will remember him for showing up in full costume after Kobe broke his nose in the 2012 All Star game. It earned him a TV interview and some brief Internet fame.

For Kobe's last game in D.C., he had to bring it back.

"I gotta bring the mask out of hiding — so I had it in my closet, my wife found it," he said Wednesday. "I may put it on, maybe not, but I just thought it would be cool to have."

This time, he wanted to meet Kobe and show him the mask. Lofty goal! I smiled when he told me his plan, then I laughed out loud when he sent me this photo. It was a tall order — and alas, no mask! — but one out of two ain't bad.