Dear Kobe,

From the day you were drafted at age 17, you grew up here.

You won three titles with Shaq and two more without him.

You outlasted your draft class of ’96 and now play with players who weren’t even born when you came into the league.

The current NBA fan forgets you’ve been doing this professionally for two decades.

You entered during the cell phone era and exit via social media.

No other athlete has been maligned as much as you, yet your mamba skin deflects any criticism.

Fans either love or hate you, yet even the haters respect you.

People have been telling you to retire for the past couple of years, but you decided to go out on your own terms.

The glory days with Phil were followed by the dark era of Jim Buss. You endured the short tenure of Mike Brown and Mike D’Antoni. Byron Scott was supposed to help lengthen your career, but he’s only enabled bad habits.

The fact most compare you to MJ speaks to your greatness. Wish your career didn’t have to end like this, but you don’t run the front office.

Your work ethic is second to none and your footwork is a forgotten art.

Lakers fans have a short memory. The same ones who blame you for taking too many shots now were cheering for you to carry the team less than five years ago.

You came in as a kid. You leave as a dad.

You never claimed to be the good cop. You only lead the way you know how to: as an assassin.

You’ve built your brand outside of basketball. In China, you’re bigger than the Great Wall, literally.

This chapter may be coming to an end, but we’ll never forget your story.

We will cherish every game of this final season because we love you.

The game will not be the same without you.

We can’t thank you enough.

Mamba Out,

Lakers Fans

About The Author

Author, blogger, speaker & die-hard Lakers fan

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