The world knows that your retirement is inevitable, and now as you recently announced it, everyone is starting to anticipate that very last day you step on the court. As a man of Green, I must say I have mixed feelings about your retirement.
First, the Joy.
I am glad you will be gone, and not have to step on the court against my team and scorch them. I have to confess that witnessing your decline is a delight to me. That gradual process of decline seems to be yield the same amount of joy to me as when my Celtics beat your Lakers on June 17, 2008. Besides getting married to the woman of my life and cradling my future children, the Celtics winning a title is one of the best moments of my life, and that date surely it was. And I’m still counting for more. I’m glad that there won’t be a Kobe anymore, who would take shots and game winning ones against the Celtics. Yet, the fact that you’re retiring won’t heal those painful memories you and your Lakers conjured on that early summer night in June of 2010. Your greatest joy is one of my greatest sorrows, and that’s what will keep us afar from each other.
Then, the Nostalgia.
As a recent 13 year old L.A. migrant, you were part of my childhood. Providence does have something to do with me not being a Laker fan. I remember doing my homework, having dinner, with KCAL9 on the background, watching you score 30 or 40 points against road teams with Joel Myers, Stu Lantz, John Ireland as part of the crew. For some reason, I never really liked you and the Lakers. There was just no spark. It may be the same as when a girl friendzones a guy and tells him “I just don’t see you in any other way.” There’s no explanation. It just is. Yet, those were my memories of you, and they were good. Your game dazzled me.
As time went on—I grew up, the Celtics won a championship, you won two (when it shouldn’t be nothing)—I got to know more who you are through documentaries. Eventually, I came to realize that personally speaking, we mirror each other. We both have the no non-sense approach to many things and have tremendous amount of focus to what we do. Your game winners are evidence of your drive to take over and get things done, an alpha trait we both share. People may have different opinions about you, but this is my two-cent about you: you are a great man and if I get the opportunity, I’d love to have you as my best friend. This may be scandalous to my Celtics brethren but at the end of the day, we can’t deny you’re one of the greatest to ever play the game. The thing that made you such, I’m convinced, is your relentless work ethic and drive. And with that I give you the amount of respect you deserve which, if we convert to dollar currency, would be millions of dollars.
The truth is, I admire you. Nothing more, nothing less.
When your Lakers come in to the Garden on December 30, I want you to score 30+ points—and I want most of those points to come from post up moves, those are my favorites from you. As weird as this may sound, I want you to lead your Lakers to a victory so we can bid you an appropriate farewell—spatter you with boos. At least that’s what I would do when I’m there, as tears come down my face, because I know I would never see another Kobe.
Then the sadness.
There will never be another Kobe.
Thank you for the memories.
Truly Yours Against,