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Lakers

Kobe Bryant’s retirement letters are being listed for as much as $1,000 on eBay

Kobe Bryant

Kobe Bryant rests on the bench before a game against the Pacers at Staples Center.

(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)

Fans who want Kobe Bryant’s “Dear Basketball” letter that was handed out at Staples Center before Sunday’s Lakers game might have to pay a pretty penny.

As of Monday afternoon copies of that letter were being listed on eBay for between $100 to $1,000. One copy had 42 bids and was up to $355 with five hours remaining. Another was up to $405 with 42 bids and six hours left. One copy listed for $800 had 13 people watching.

Bryant announced Sunday in an essay he wrote for the Players’ Tribune that he was going to retire after this season. When the news broke hours before Sunday’s game, some fans dropped everything, bought a ticket and rushed to Staples Center. One of those fans was Jessie Gonzalez, 25, who said he just had to be there because he was so “shocked and upset.”

Bryant, a five-time NBA champion who has spent his entire 20-season career with the Lakers, said it was his decision to orchestrate the letter giveaway as a token of appreciation for his fans.

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“I really can’t thank the fans enough, man,” Bryant said Sunday. “They’ve been such a motivator for me, and such a catalyst for everything that I’ve accomplished. I have so much respect and love for them.”

Here’s what Bryant wrote in the letter:

When we first met I was just a kid.

Some of you took me in. Some of you didn’t.

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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 strengths.

Your rejection taught my courage.

Whether you view me as a hero or 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 that I wore purple and gold.

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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.


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