You don’t know me. I’m a fan speaking for fans that asked me to send this letter to you from The Q. Here, there are Laker fans that love and miss you, alongside Warrior fans that respected you. We are going to miss what you meant to the game of basketball.
I’ve watched you since you came into the NBA in 1996. I wondered what type of player you’d become, coming straight from high school.
It didn’t take long for me to see what you were capable of doing with the ball in your hands.
I was speechless.
I saw in you Michael Jordan, who was an idol for both of us.
I saw that deadly, killer look in your eyes. I saw that same look in Jordan’s eyes when he stepped on the court. The look that makes your competitors lowers their gaze.
The look that says, “Gimme the rock and watch what I do with it.”
The look that says, “None of y’all can stop me, I’m destined for this.”
The look that says, “I dare you to try and stop me. Step up and see if you can do it.”
The look that says, “Nothing you do in this game will stop me from achieving what I am destined for: Greatness.”
The look that says, “The Champ is here!”
I heard ex-NBA player Bruce Bowen, a legend for his defensive skills, say on the radio the day you left us, “At first, I didn’t like Kobe. I thought he was arrogant, entitled. But, I came to respect him. He brought out the best defender in me and he still went a step higher.”
Pundits are trying to compare you and LeBron James. But LeBron didn’t see it that way.
LeBron said, “I’m happy to be in any conversation with Kobe Bryant, just humbled. He’s a five-time NBA champion. The man has two jerseys hanging up in the Staples Center. To pass him up on the scoring list? It’s surreal. To be compared to him? That’s huge. I play in the house that Kobe built. I’m blessed to be in that conversation.”
LeBron said that on Saturday Jan. 25, 2020. The night he passed you to become the third highest scorer in NBA history.
And we read the tweet you sent him that night, congratulating him. Telling him to keep striving for greatness.
The night before you left us all here, wondering, “God, why him and Gigi? Why Kobe and his daughter? Why the other people on that flight? Why them?”
I do play-by-play here at The Q for the annual Golden State Warriors versus SQ Warriors games. I’ve called a game with Bay Area sports guru Larry Biel and current Laker Javelle McGee.
I’ve called thousands of games over the past 26 years inside of CDCR.
I wish I had the opportunity to do play-by-play for just one of your games.
You allowed a middle-aged, out of shape, former athlete to dream bigger than myself.
That was what you brought out in me.
Rise in Power, Kobe Bean Bryant. We’re going to miss what you did on the court. But we’re also going to miss what you were going to do with life after basketball.
Now, you and Gianna — the Mambacita — can play ball together in the clouds. You can teach her your signature fall-away, while we watch for the next person to step up and fill your shoes.
Players like you come around only once in a generation.
You were the Black Mamba, the deadliest assassin on the court.
During your playing years, people called you arrogant.
After you stepped off the court, they called you another name: mentor.
I saw fans crying for you and Gianna; fans all over the world chanting your name:
“KOBE! KOBE! KOBE!”
You did it. You became The G.O.A.T. The Greatest Of All Time.
I just wish you didn’t have to leave us to do it.
Thank you for being you. We are all going to miss you.
Peace, my brother.
Aaron Showtime Taylor
The Voice of SQ Sports
#thankyouKobe #BlackMamba #8theGreat #deucefour #LakerGOAT #Mambacita #girldad