Sport is in mourning. Kobe Bryant, a myth of the Lakers, died this Sunday in a helicopter accident along with his 13-year-old daughter.
The news has shaken the foundations of world sport in a painful and completely unexpected blow. Bryant was now 41 years old and had retired from the NBA in 2016, after a two-decade career in which he collected 5 rings and rose as one of the greatest players of all time.
Because of his hunger, his way of playing and his position, he will always be the most Jordan-like player after Jordan himself. But in addition to being a basketball star, Bryant was a man with numerous concerns, and one of them earned him nothing more and nothing less than an Oscar.
When he retired in 2016 he published a letter called ‘Dear Basktaball’, (‘Dear basketball’), an ode of love to the sport of the basket. The letter in turn gave rise to a short animation that was the one that got the statuette of the Academy.
The letter has been shared in recent hours on social networks as a memory of # 24 of the Lakers. Because reading it today supposes, even if possible, a total declaration of love for the sport, and also to understand and say goodbye a little more to the figure of Kobe Bryant. Here you can read his translated letter:
‘Dear Basketball’, by Kobe Bryant
From the moment I started picking up my dad’s rolled-up socks and shooting imaginary shots to win a game at the Great Forum in LA, I knew one thing was real: I fell in love with you, a love so deep that I gave you my everything.
My mind, my body, my spirit and my soul. As a six-year-old boy, deeply in love with you, I never saw the end of the tunnel.
I just saw myself running out of one. And that’s why I ran, I ran up and down all the tracks, after each lost ball, for you. You asked me to push, I gave you my heart, because it would come with much more.
I have endured the sweat and pain, not because the challenge called me, but because YOU called me.
I have done everything for YOU. Because that’s what you do, when someone makes you feel as alive as you have made me feel.
You gave a six-year-old his Laker dream, and I will always love you for it. But I can’t obsessively love you for much longer. This season I will give you everything I have left inside. My heart can take the beating, my mind can handle the routine, but my body knows it’s time to say goodbye.
And that’s fine. I’m ready to let you go I want you to know. So, now we can both savor every moment that we have left together. The good and bad. We have given ourselves everything we have. And we both know that it doesn’t matter what I do next.
I will always be that kid, with my socks rolled up, trash in the corner, 5 seconds on the clock, the ball in my hands.
5… 4… 3… 2… 1
I love you, always, Kobe