Many people read the poem that Kobe Bryant posted to The Players’s Tribute announcing his retirement. But those people who were lucky enough to be at the Staples Center that night received a more personal message.
When we first met I was just a kid.
Some of you took me in. Some of you didn’t.
But all of you helped me become the player and man in front of you today.
You gave me confidence to put my anger to good use.
Your doubt gave me determination to prove you wrong.
You witnessed my fears morph into strength.
Your rejection taught me courage.
Whether you view me as a hero or a villain, please know I poured every emotion, every bit of passion and my entire self into being a Laker.
What you’ve done for me is far greater than anything I’ve done for you.
I knew that each minute of each game I wore purple and gold.
I honor it as I play today and for the rest of this season.
My love for this city, this team and for each of you will never fade.
Thank you for this incredible journey.