Dear Kobe, from a Celtics fan
Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers goes up for a shot against Rasheed Wallace (No. 30) and Tony Allen (No. 42) of the Boston Celtics in Game One of the 2010 NBA Finals on June 3, 2010 at Staples Center in Los Angeles, California.
Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images
Dear Kobe, from a Celtics fan
Maverick Flores (Philstar.com) - January 29, 2020 - 12:19pm

Dear Kobe,

I hate you.

I started to back in 2008. It was the same season I started watching the NBA seriously. You were the league MVP and you took the Lakers to the finals.

I hated the fact that you could not have done it without the older Gasol, and yet in Game Four, your Lakers had 24 points on us in the second quarter. We came back, though, and took our 17th banner in Game Six.

I hated you even more in 2010. My Celtics played you at home for Game Seven of that year's finals, in what I was hoping would be Paul Pierce's second ring. You led in the fourth while we struggled to keep the game close, but even if you did not play well at all that night, you still took your back-to-back titles.

Oh, and I was rooting for Orlando to get even one win on you the year before that, despite beating us out of the postseason prior.

I'm not going to lie, I enjoyed seeing you drop back to earth as Dallas won its first championship. I enjoyed seeing you try to regain glory with Dwight Howard and Steve Nash, then almost get bounced out of playoff seeding, then make that first round exit.

I enjoyed seeing Swaggy P in that Lakers jersey making all those Shaqtin' a Fool-worthy plays as you succumbed to obscurity.

But you just had to turn it around. Because you're Kobe.

You made me care about that farewell tour. You made me watch that last game with the Jazz and root for you to get your 60. You made me tear up at "Mamba Out." 

Because I thought you were the best enemy my Celtics had. I was not born yet when it was Magic and Kareem against the first Big Three, and the last great Celtics rivalry was between my Big Three and you. You were half of the reason I watched those Finals battles intently. You made me excited about a ball bouncing from one end to another.

You gave meaning to the sport like nothing I have ever seen before or after you. Because that is just what you do. You make it impossible to hate you.

What happened after my Big Three retired? I found out about Ray Allen's bad attitude and how the rest of the Celtics stars despised him. I saw Pierce, my favorite player ever, make ill-advised statements about today's players. I saw Garnett, at least, become a decent host. All of them, however, chose to leave the green team for greener pastures long before they hung up their jerseys.

Meanwhile, you stayed with the Lakers even though they dragged your legacy down. You retired with grace and respect. You raised wonderful children, including a daughter who would have been the future of women's basketball. You raised our hopes up that you might just one day come back to coach or lead an organization that would get that sixth ring for you. Or, at least, replace Kenny Smith at Inside the NBA.

As my heroes growing up became human, wearing shirts and doing talk shows, I grew to like them less. But you did not even give us enough time to humanize you, to see you outside that court, to take off the rose-colored glasses and appreciate you for the legend that you are.

I hate you, Kobe, because after everything you did for basketball — and for me — I didn't even get the chance to thank you.

Good night, Mamba. 

Sincerely,

A Celtics fan

KOBE BRYANT
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