I’ll always remember there was a high school kid, 17 years old, brought his dauntless spirit and historic talent to NBA. Scoring his first bucket with a free throw, he just made a normal and mundane debut. No one could ever imagined, how charismatic he is.
Often compared to the next MJ, he’s drawn millions of fans from deep within. I’m no exception. I’m the one that spend every minute replaying his highlights in my mind, feeling proud of being his fan. Over the years, he’s been doubted; he’s been criticized; he’s been hated. Instead of succumbing to the public, he conquered them with his arrogant, confident, fearless and indomitable mentality, leaving everyone speechless by hitting one shot after another.
Never did he yield to criticism, and neither did he yield to injuries. A twenty-year-careered player has countless injuries and scars. Every time he falls down, he just use his mentality to conquer it, even though there’s never been a player coming back after suffering from a horrendous Achilles torn. N
o one has done this before; no one has been so paranoid to basketball. His passion for it is something we can’t imagine. We don’t know how many efforts he’s put in; how many shots he’s taken; how many times he fell down and how many times he got up. I know. I truly understand. But never will I get there, just like there won’t be another Kobe. His name is Kobe, Kobe Bryant.
I remember the first point you got.
I remember your first meet with MJ.
I remember your first all-star game.
I remember the duel.
I remember the 12 treys against Washington.
I remember the trophies.
I remember your smile to MJ.
I remember the downfall in 2004.
I remember your 81-point journey.
I remember your jersey, from 8 to 24.
I remember the loss in the finals against Boston. I remember the comeback in 2009.
I remember the final MVP.
I remember the 65-point-game against Portland.
I remember the F4.
I remember the struggle in 2013.
I remember your resolution to bring the Lakers to Playoffs. I remember your Achilles.
I remember your free throws.
I remember your game-winner against the Suns.
I remember the three-point game-winner over Wade.
I remember your competition with LeBron.
I remember your 3 consecutive treys against the Raptors. I remember the letter.
I remember the Mamba mentality.
I remember the last dance.
You’re the reason I watch NBA. You’re the reason I love basketball. It’s really painful, really painful, to see a legend ending this way. Watch your game, seeing you struggling with your shots. Have less power; have less vertical; have less speed; have less buckets; have more bricks; have more scars; have more fatigue; have the last dunk; have the last season.
You show us, passion is the greatest.
You show us, a high school kid can be legendary.
You show us, an 81-point game is possible.
You show us, the injuries cannot be excuses.
You show us, an epic competition with MJ really existed. You show us, a pair of free throws can be inspirational. You show us, a man with lovers and haters.
You show us, impossible is possible.
You show us, how to get up again and again.
You show us, how a player can influence people greatly. You show us, how depressing an announcement can be. You show us, 8 isn’t just 8, 24 isn’t just 24.
You show us, a true story of an ambitious kid.
You show us, Kobe Bryant is real.
Watching highlights used to be an exciting routine; watching highlights is to be a sad story.
Talking about Kobe used to be inspirational; talking about Kobe is to be emotional.
Wearing 24 used to be glorious; wearing 24 is to be vacuous. Playing basketball used to be charming; playing basketball is to be nothing.
If I tell you “I don’t want you to retire.” I know you’ll refuse, just like what you always did. No one can change your mind. I just cannot take the reality that there’s no more Mamba. A 37-year-old legend, who change the world of basketball with his career, is going to be just memories. The legacy you leave will make everyone weeps. Every move you played; every word you said will be written in the history of basketball. Hall of fame is a place for them to commemorate, but a memory for us to regurgitate.
I can recite your every moment, but I cannot accept your retire announcement.
Thank you Kobe, the Mamba spirit will always exist, and the Kobe story will always embed in me.