When Lakers fans arrived at their seats on Sunday at Staples Center for the game against the Indiana Pacers, a letter from Kobe Bryant was waiting for them.
The perennial All-Star guard announced his retirement earlier in the day.
Titled “When We First Met I Was Just a Kid,” the 14-line letter talks about his role as a villain and hero. Of drawing strength and courage from fear and rejection.
“Some of you took me in. Some of you didn’t,” the letter opens. “But all of you helped me become the player and man in front of you today.”
Bryant closes the letter declaring his love for the purple and gold as well as Los Angeles.
“My love for this city, this team and for each of you will never fade. Thank you for this incredible journey,” the letter closes.
The Lakers embark on an eight-game trip Tuesday. Lakers Coach Byron Scott doesn’t consider this the start of a farewell tour, but he believes Bryant will be welcomed at each stop.
“I definitely think he’ll get the appreciation from fans,” Scott said. “I don’t know about it being considered a farewell tour or anything like that. But I think just the fact that when he goes to all these stadiums for the last time, people will show their respect.”
Much like Bryant paid his respects to the fans on Sunday.