Dear Kobe

Dear Kobe,


I guess I doubt you'll ever read this, but I guess it's worth it to me to write, nonetheless. I know that people are supposed to be quick to hop on whatever the latest story is to maximize their web traffic / piggyback off the trend, and more often than not, I get too caught up in my head about how I don't want to be that guy, so I don't end up writing a lot of the things that I actually want to write.


But I really want to write this, and I guess, in general, I should care less about perceptions anyway.


I saw your Dear Basketball letter earlier today, and tried to read it as soon as I did. I imagine the servers crashed or something, because all I got for an hour was an error code.


When it finally loaded, I started reading it aloud to my wife, Brandi. Half way through I felt tears welling up in my eyes, and by the end, I was crying. Straight up tears-streaming-down-my-face crying, and Brandi started laughing at me. Honestly, I started laughing at myself. The last thing I expected to be doing was sitting on my kitchen counter without the breath to finish reading an open letter to basketball.


The thing is, though, it's more than that to me, just like I know it's more than that to you. I remember when you started playing. My dad was already a Laker's fan, and I inherited his team. We watched so many games. We always wanted to get to one (somehow we only ever ended up at a Warriors game - at this point I truly don't know how), but it never happened.


During the Three Peat years, I remember being at Disneyland with my family. My dad and my mom and my sister and I ran around all over the park to try to find a bar that was showing the game. We almost made it when everyone in the park started going crazy over how you guys had done it again! We watched the parades each year...


If my dad were still alive we'd be sitting around talking about the end of an era, talking Horry and O'Neil and Fisher and you, and threes that kept you in the playoffs and on to championships we couldn't believe. It was insane.


When I read the letter today, it was so much more than that. It was memories wrapped up in your rise and awe-filled conversations with my family enjoying the games and screaming at the television. It was watching 'es skateboarding videos and loving the gold and purple Koston 3s and his spots in LA jerseys.


So anyway, thanks. Age is a weird thing. Hard to believe so much time has passed by. And the letter is that, too. It's dreams and youth and change and the death of things, and it's something I think everyone has to come to grips with sooner or later, the small or large deaths of change. How long does one hold onto something that passes by (even if it passes by without permission)?


To lay down all that you have for something is a beautiful thing. To respond to something that makes you feel alive is a beautiful thing. I imagine it will be hard, nonetheless. In the wake of a death, I hope you find new life. I hope that the future finds you found, alive. Become a child. Be the six year old. Be younger than that.


Somehow, today, your letter was as much to me as it was to basketball, and my wife and I laughed at myself crying in my kitchen over the small death of change. I guess, out of nowhere, it felt a little bit like the small death of childhood, like pieces of my history wrapped up in your goodbye, and it was some of my own loss felt in brand news ways and old ways all over again, but it was a beautiful farewell.


Thanks for so many good years.



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