Farewell, Kobe

“Heroes come and go, but legends are forever.” Kobe Bryant

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MCT

The Los Angeles Lakers’ Kobe Bryant (24) celebrates a 99-86 win in Game 5 of the NBA Finals against the Orlando Magic at Amway Arena in Orlando, Florida, Sunday, June 14, 2009. The Lakers won the Finals with the win in Game 5. (Gary W. Green/Orlando Sentinel/MCT)

Alan McGonigle, Sports Editor

Dear Kobe,

I remember watching basketball as long as I could remember, watching your Lakers dominate the sport year in and year out. With your three-peat titles with Shaquille O’Neal and your repeat titles against the Orlando Magic and the eternal rival, Boston Celtics. You have dominated the sport of basketball for over twenty seasons, from mimicking Jordan, to posterizing a plethora of players.

I remember staying up late night on Youtube, watching game highlights of your early career, when you still had the afro and wore the #8. Watching highlights of the game against the Raptors when you scored 81 points. I was amazed and hooked, I begged my parents for a pair of your shoes so I could feel like I was you when I showcased my awful basketball skills, trying to replicate your iconic turnaround fadeaway.

I remember having debates for hours against Heat fans about whether you were better than LeBron James. I always defended your honor and vowed that I would always pick you to take the final shot in any game even if you had five players guarding you at once. I remember my little squeaky twelve year old voice screaming “Kobe is better! He has FIVE RINGS!” and in unison waving my hands like a mad man.

You were always my favorite player. I knew everything about you: your season stats, your accolades, everything. I knew when you did your signature bite of your jersey, that it was go time and that you were going to sink shots like the hoop was the size of a Hula Hoop.

I remember every time you drove to the paint and got fouled and threw up the shot, you would yell out as you threw the ball up in desperation.

I remember being in class, and having a balled up piece of paper, and everyone in the class doing fadeaway shots, and replicating you in unison of yelling out “Kobe!” as we shot the ball into the trash bin. Your shot was not just a shot, it was an art form that many would try to replicate, but only one could do it, and that person was you.

All I hear now, is Stephen Curry this, and LeBron James that, but in my eyes, you are forever the greatest of all time.

Thank You Kobe.

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