Kobe Bryant fans honor him through poetry

Lakers great Kobe Bryant rehearses with the L.A. Philharmonic in 2017 to narrate "Dear Basketball," a poem that he wrote in contemplation of his retirement.
Lakers great Kobe Bryant rehearses with the L.A. Philharmonic in 2017 to narrate “Dear Basketball,” a poem that he wrote in contemplation of his retirement.
(Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)

In a request for Kobe Bryant memories, some fans expressed themselves through poetry. It’s a fitting tribute to the legendary Lakers great who wrote a poem called “Dear Basketball” to announce his retirement from the NBA. That poem was made into a film that earned him an Academy Award, a Sports Emmy and an Annie Award.

Bryant, 41, died in a helicopter crash in Calabasas on Sunday morning, along with his 13-year-old daughter and seven others. His career with the Lakers spanned 20 years before his retirement in 2016, and included five NBA championship titles, two Finals MVPs and one regular season MVP.

The Times asked readers to write in with their favorite memories of Bryant. If you have a poem to add, please submit it through the form below.

Goodbye Kobe
You gave us everything you had
everyday, every game, all the time
on the court and off the court
gave us the best you had
to your fans, to your team
to your everyone
your smile, your hustle
your virtue, your sincerity
unselfishness, honor and charity
it was all good
it was all great
it was all one of a kind
Goodbye Kobe.
We all love you.

Steven Hashim Fall River, Mass.

Jump Then Pump
I bounce
but don’t break
sometimes fly
then stop on a dime
change directions at will
become one with wood
I deal
always look good
cling to clouds
step on air
flair like fire
which burns off my hair
as I
jump then pump
without any fear
then smash the
freshly plucked pumpkin
through the
neon orange sphere...

—Reg E. Gaines, San Diego

Dear Kobe,

From the moment I watched you in 2000

And shooting imaginary Game-winning shots in NBA Live

I knew one thing was real:

You inspired me.

You showed me. What true passion was.
What hunger meant.

Something I have taken with me
A life skill

You don’t give up. You don’t stop.
You fight until you win


You may be gone
But your legacy will be forever

The people everywhere
Like me
Who won’t give up

Because you showed us
What’s possible

So Kobe

The ball is in your hands. 5....4....3.....2....1

Show us what you got.

—Sydney Liu, San Francisco


Thoughts of Kobe Bryant

Kobe Bryant...
My favorite player of all time
Kobe Bryant...
Always stylish looking so fine
Being at games
Watching you play
Always made me happier
Always made my day
Kobe Bryant...
So smooth so poised
And those razzle dazzle moves
Made me cheer loud noise
Your championship games
Recorded on discs
To watch you when I want
Because you will be missed
Now you are in Heaven
I can’t believe you are gone
I will never forget you
As the world goes on
RIP Kobe and Gianna...take care of each other

—Rhonda Pfoertner, Hemet

I saw in you
Who i was afraid to be.
I was afraid my whole life
to believe in me.
The haters couldn’t hate
because your will was so great.
The debaters couldn’t debate
because you didn’t care what they had to say.
After every air ball,
after every loss,
after every rumor,
after every scandal,
after everyone tried to dull your star...
continued being Kobe.
A profound thinker.
An impassioned child advocate.
A loving family man.
A devoted father.
A husband that loved his wife more than his fame.
...and that’s why i love you.

—Luis M. Quintana, Bronx, NY

My fallen hero vanquished
He was the emblem of fearlessness
The pain bore by those who loved you cannot be fathomed
Or spoken in words
Our hearts are torn apart
I keep hoping this was all a dream
You are gone far too soon

—Osanna Bennett, San Diego

Ode to a One of a Kind
He rode the air defiantly
Perched in excellence,
probing, dashing, dodging
in controlled elevation,
flashing pearly whites and a sly smirk,
ran on the edge of real
venturing precariously into the unfathomable
defying the conventional
making it seem less probable, more than possible.
Whosoever may remember;
where you witnessed the brilliance of his gift.
Bestowed by the Most High on a select few,
No just one.
A One of a kind,
a Kobe

—Tyrone k. Laws

Dear Kobe,
From the moment
I started watching you hit your spots
And shooting revelatory
Game winning shots
In the house you built
I knew one thing was real:
I knew that I must follow you.
A respect so deep I admired it all-
From your prepared body,
To your relentless soul.
As a 11 year old boy
Desperately trying to emulate you
I never saw the end of your tunnel.
I only saw myself,
Ecstatic as you won.
And so I ran,
I ran trying to comport
Following the wisdom in you.
We asked for your hustle,
You gave us your heart
Because it came with so much more.
You played through the sweat and hurt
Not because challenge set you free,
But because you called me.
I did everything for you,
Because that’s what you do
When someone makes you feel as
Alive as you’ve made me feel.
You gave an eleven year old boy his Laker dream
And I’ll always love you for it.
But I can’t love you obsessively any longer.
For this forty first year was your last to give.
My heart can’t take the pounding
My mind can’t fully unwind
And my body is stricken as I say goodbye.
And that’s ok.
But I wasn’t ready to let you go,
I want you to know now
So we all can savor every memory we have of you together.
The good we all understand
You have given us my brother
All that you have.
And I know now, no matter what I do next,
I’ll always be that kid
With the rolled up socks
Garbage can in the corner
:03 seconds on the clock
Ball in my hands.

—anonymous, Los Angeles