letter to Kobe.


today is my birthday and all i can think about is you. 
my dad was a Shaq fan so i didn’t have a choice but to watch the Lakers. and there you were. a young cocky kid telling the world just how great you were. kinda like how Ali told everybody he was the greatest at the age of twenty-two… 
you told Shaq you were going to be the Will Smith of the basketball world. and you ended up being larger. and i hate you for that.

i hate that you were so dedicated at a young age to be great. you put pressure on me. you showed me to give my all whenever i’m in a situation. 
you pushed the most dominant player of all time to even higher limits. i hate that you knew how great Shaq was but you still weren’t satisfied because you knew he could be even better. Greatest NBA sidekicks - World in Sport
 i hate that you had so much swag and confidence as a kid in a league that had better players than you at the time like TMac, Iverson, Vince and Ray Allen.
i hate that you took it upon yourself to work endlessly to be the greatest player ever. why didn’t you just accept being really good? why didn’t you just say “this is their league now, soon my time will come”? why did you break your hand and still show up to practice shooting with your left hand for hours?Kobe hand
why did you never just go with the flow?
why did you score forty-eight points and sixteen rebounds against the Sacramento Kings as a twenty two year old with Shaq on your team?
i remember when you hit that shot over RIP Hamilton in 2004 Finals with those Huaraches 2k4s on. how were you so calm in the most hectic situations as a young player?
i went and got those shoes, grey suede and blues. i went straight to the court and tried that same move. made the shot, but the guy guarding me landed on my right shoe. i had a big dirt footprint on them the first day i wore them.
i hate that you were at the gym four hours before every game, shooting shots.

i hate that after games your team lost, you stayed hours after getting shots up.
i hate that you never were satisfied with being really good.
you didn’t stop until you were great.Kobe Warming Up | THE OFFICIAL SITE OF THE LOS ANGELES LAKERS
i hate that you had those ugly adidas shoes and i still bought two pairs because i wanted to be like you.
i hate you had that huge afro because i grew my hair out just like that and my mom hated it because i never combed our picked it out.

why did you commit to your wife at such a young age? how did you know she was the one that young?
your parents hated it because she was so young but you still did what you wanted despite your parents dislike. why? what made you so rebellious?
i hate you for that because i ended up doing the same thing. i mean, i met her at eighteen. my pops liked her but my mom didn’t at first. but that didn’t stop me from being with her. how did i know she was the one that young? i hate that i followed you!
why did you cheat on Vanessa? i hate that you humiliated her. i was rooting for you. we were all rooting for you. but you confessed and made a public apology with her on your arm, standing by you. with tears rolling down your face, you apologized and vowed to be better.
a lot of men would have just been cool with being the man on the court because the public tends to forgive and forget the man for cheating on his wife as long as he performs in his art.
with your work ethic on the court and obsession to be the best, it’s no surprise that you were obsessed with restoring your marriage and your family. it’s no surprise that you worked even harder in your house to make sure you wouldn’t lose your wife.
i’m crying writing this because i hate that i’m so like you.
i hate that i would do anything to make sure my girl sees me as a great husband and father.
you had four daughters and you loved them, deeply.
you never were upset that you didn’t have boys. you told me you love the challenge of raising girls to women, and why aren’t i surprised that you embraced that task.kobe wife
you were so good at everything you did. i remember when you dropped sixty-two points in three quarters against the Mavs. and couple games later, eighty-one points. January twenty-second, two thousand-six. why did you push yourself that hard?
i love you and mimic you, you made me want to be great. why are you so confident doing what you do? you got the nerves to be that confident in public… but then again, you did put in the work.
i hate that because i’m so confident in everything i do and people call me cocky without remembering i put in the work.
when i worked at bestbuy, i didn’t know anything about TVs. but after two months, i had family members calling me to help them. i had my girls’ brothers calling me Geek Squad. i didn’t want to be a good salesperson. i wanted to be great. i had to learn what i needed to learn plus more. i had to be because i was in that position. why be subpar at anything you’re doing, right? i got that from you. 
while working there at the age of twenty, i didn’t know i was going to be scouted out by two managers who loved me and wanted me to be a store manager along with them.
i had no experience in shoes and for sure at being a manager, but that didn’t stop me.
i hate that you pushed me to be the best supervisor i could be at twenty. 
i ended up working at a credit union because my best friend put me on. his name is Hoa, but he has been known by another name for the past twenty years.
Hoa is Vietnamese and he loved you so much, he created a whole new persona, Frobe. he has watched you since you had an afro, Kobe. thats where he got his name from.
everybody knows him as Frobe. why did you transcend cultures the way you did?
why did you make everyone love you? i thought you were just my role model, not everyone else! 
nobody gives themselves nicknames. you did. Black Mamba. why did it stick and no one questioned you?
why has the “Mamba” mentality stuck for a decade now? Which Kobe was better? №8 or №24? – Brad Callas – Medium
why did you have the best of the best like Jerry Rice, Serena Williams, Kanye West, Richard Branson reach out to you? the whole idea behind the Mamba Mentality was to push yourself beyond your comfort level to a level of greatest you didn’t even think was possible?
why did you inspire a whole generation of not just hoopers but musicians, entertainers, fathers, mothers, entrepreneurs? why did you go out and face KG, Ray Allen, Rondo and Peirce and beat them? why did you go face Dwight Howard and beat him? why did you play in the olympics with Lebron and Wade in their prime but you were still the best player and demanded to guard the oppositions best player?
i hate that. i hate that. 
i hate that your team was so weak but you willed them to a playoff seed in 2013. why do i hate it? because you promised you would do it when the team wasn’t even in the playoff haunt and you made it happen. you tore your Achilles in the process of doing that and everybody forgot how great you were after that year. i remember your red eyes after that game when you got the news but you still did the post game interview.Chinese Fan Crying During Interview After After Seeing Kobe Bryant On Nike Tour! | New Video
now we have a whole generation who thinks you’re not even that good. can you believe that?
but talking to people who know you, you don’t even care anymore.
how? why?
they said because you did all you could do on the court and you no longer have anything to prove. how are you so chill and not worried about your legacy when all of us are debating every chance we get to rep you! i remember Frobe called me one day to ask if i wanted to go to utah. noooobody wanna go to utah but he said to watch you play your last season. of course i went.
we lost by 48 points and i don’t even remember. only thing i remember was how you still moved across the floor and players still respected your skill. you weren’t supposed to be this good.
you didn’t jump that high like Jordan. you weren’t the fastest player like Iverson. you didn’t have big hands like Dr.J. you weren’t buff like Lebron. why did you still finish at the top then? on paper, you were supposed to finish the race last. on paper, you’re not supposed to be in the greatest of all time debate. you’re only there because you worked harder than anybody ever before. you were a honda and finished with the lamborginis and ferarris.
that is amazing.Kobe Bryant OK With Not Winning a Sixth Championship | SLAMonline
i hate you dropped sixty points in your lace game ever. in front of JayZ, Kanye, Snoop, Ice Cube, Shaq, ME. we asked for a great last game but sixty?! and we were down 10 with three minutes left and you, in Kobe fashion, willed the team back and won. how?
i hate that you will not stop until the mission is complete. you just didn’t stop being great. until the last day of your twenty year career.Kobe Bryant scores 60 points and wins final game with LA Lakers | Daily Mail Online
then after you retired, you became even more successful as a family man.
how can Kobe be even more successful in something other than hooping? because your dedication to a thing is obsessive.
you loved your daughters. you loved Vanessa.

you made sure you were the super dad.

you rebranded yourself better than anybody
i have ever seen before. first, after the cheating. you made sure to do better. and you did. then after you hung up your jersey, you branded yourself as the best dad. how? how did we almost forget that you were the best player ever? by becoming the best public dad ever.  
but one thing you didn’t do for me was prepare me for January twenty-sixth, two thousand twenty. you didn’t tell me you were leaving forever. you didn’t even give me a hint. you were in good shape, you kept making public appearances. i even moved from The Bay to West Covina. i hate that i was so attached to you and you just left.
i hate that you gave twenty years of your life to entertain us and you only had four years of undivided attention for your daughters and wife. i hate that i used you for another father figure and i didn’t let you be with your own wife and kids.  
but at the same time, i love you for all of that. i love you for being so young and confident although you didn’t have the same physical attributes as your peers. i love that you forced yourself to be the best ever. i love that you did slip up and forced yourself to be the best husband and father ever. i love that you didn’t listen to your parents and married who you wanted to marry. i love that you were my role model and a little Vietnamese kid role model at the same time and didn’t even know until twenty years later. i love you for pushing limits of greatness. i love you for finishing the race. i love that you brought different cultures and age groups together.
i love that you made people hate you for being great. i love that despite being a basketball player, people form every arena of art and profession loved you. i love that everyone has their own Kobe story. i love that you flew to hospitals with no cameras and no PR behind you to chill with kids for their last wishes. i love that you won a Oscar for your short film. i love that people yell KOBE! when they shoot a basketball or even trash or empty water bottle. i love that you had beef with Shaq, the most dominant player ever, and that fueled you to work harder. i love that you were a super hero to millions of people around the world. i love that you were a villain to millions around the world but they only hated you because of the reasons we love you. i love that you fought just as hard as super heroes in fake hollywood movies.
but super heroes aren’t supposed to die… 
i love you.

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