Letters: Remembering the incomparable Kobe Bryant

L.A. mourns the death of Lakers legend Kobe Bryant.
(Jim Thompson / For The Times)

I can’t bring 20,000 fans to their feet in an instant. I can’t carry a whole team on my back and will them to an NBA championship. I can’t tear my Achilles and walk to the line and sink two free throws.
If an immortal can be taken so young, what chance do any of us have against mortality?

William David Stone
Beverly Hills
While the rest of us were numb, obsessively scouring news reports and social media for something, anything that would take the horror of the truth away, Bill Plaschke somehow, through a grief even deeper than our own, found a way to put his excruciating pain into palliative, coherent sentences. Thank you for sharing your personal anguish of losing a friend with us on Sunday afternoon. It offered comfort on a day when we were beyond comforting, a day when we had no words of our own.

Cindy McMahon
Manhattan Beach
Grim reality serves to remind all of us that these are, after all, only games. The truth is that Kobe Bryant met his tragic end while doing the most important job of all ... being a dad. May Kobe’s family and friends, the Lakers family and the families and friends of all of the other victims of the helicopter crash find some form of peace and comfort in their memories and their faith. We grieve for those that have been left behind. RIP

Bud Chapman
There are the very few things that unite L.A.:
1) earthquakes
2) the Olympics
3) riots.
Add another one to the list.

Alan Smuckler
Culver City
I have been a big Lakers fan since they first came to L.A. No disrespect to West, Wilt, Kareem, or Magic, but Kobe is the Los Angeles GLOAT (Greatest Laker of All Time).

George Buck
Los Angeles
Today’s starting lineup in heaven:
Pete Maravich
Wilt Chamberlain
Dolph Schayes
John Havlicek
Kobe Bryant
Coach: Red Auerbach
Commisioner: David Stern

Gary H. Miller
He entered the NBA at age 18. He married Vanessa at age 22. He said then that he does everything young. Tragically, he was correct. RIP Mamba.


Gary B. Ross
Beverly Hills
Thank you for this memorable tribute that truly reveals the “Real Kobe” for all of us to so thoughtfully revere this remarkable American hero.

Jim Gordon
San Diego
To quote Vin Scully:
“Don’t be sad that’s it’s over, smile because it happened.”

Mark Berglas
Huntington Beach
Not surprising the Lakers were in no emotional shape to play a game two days after the death of Kobe Bryant, and even playing Friday may be too soon. However, the best way to get back up in the saddle, and to honor Kobe for the rest of the season, is to attack each game like Kobe did. Better yet, write on their jerseys “No Plays Off.” They may not lose another game!

Al Janis
The last time I felt so compelled to submit a truly, heartfelt letter to the L.A. Times, it was the week of 9/11. The magnitude of what happened Sunday to those nine passengers not only affected us here in Los Angeles, but was felt throughout the globe via numbing shockwaves.

In light of this, my deep appreciation of Kobe was not for his Oscar, career point total, gold medals, or rings, but about his unforgettable and methodical blue-collar work ethic— which spilled over from the sports world to to the business world. It was always refreshing to see a person such as he arrive first at a practice, and being the last to leave. The polished result we all saw on the court was the end product of constant hard work in practice and film study, which is what I always, and will forever admire.

In the immortal words of Bob Hope, thanks for the memories, Kobe.

I sent this letter at 8:24 a.m.

Mark J. Featherstone
Windsor Hills
Although I wasn’t much of a basketball fan, while channel surfing many years ago I saw a brief interchange on TV with Kobe and a sports reporter after a playoff victory. Kobe was seated in the locker room and he looked almost angry and I thought, “That’s weird, they won!” The interviewer asks what he was feeling and he responded with something like, “There’s nothing to celebrate or be happy about until we’ve gone all the way and won the championship.”

I’ve often thought of that determined focus and demeanor when I see the Dodgers in their excessive champagne celebration mode after their playoff wins. They explain it as being important to enjoy the moment because they’ve worked hard for it after a long grinding season, or something to that effect. Maybe they’re right, but they might want to take a page from Kobe’s playbook and adopt some of that laser focus on the prize ahead instead of expending energy on a past victory.

Karen Schultz
The saddest part of this tragedy to me, a lifetime Laker fan, is that helicopter should have never taken off. Such is the price of fame that Kobe’s overwhelming persona made ordinary people want to do the extraordinary for him.

David Lawler
Santa Monica
If Kobe Bryant is inducted into the Hall of Fame in August, then let August 24 (8/24) be Kobe Bryant Day.

Adam Platts
Los Angeles
In the last couple of days, and the next couple of weeks millions of words will be written and spoken about the life of Kobe Bryant.

The 123 words written in the front page of the special section Monday are the best description of his life, both the success and the failures.

These words take us from the age of 17 to the tragic events at 41. I think it also gives us a sense that like all of us of he was flawed human being, and as he matured as a husband, father, teammate and entrepreneur he overcame the negative aspects of his life to become more than just an athlete — he became international icon who transcended the sports world.

RIP Kobe

Victor Triana
Mission Viejo
I hope the Lakers and the city of Los Angeles are smart enough to hold whatever tribute they plan on holding for Kobe at the Coliseum. There’s no way Staples Center would be able to handle the amount of people that would want to attend.

George Hynes
Say hello to Chick and Dr. Jerry.
Miss all of you.

Alan Matis
Sherman Oaks

Feeling Blue

The Dodgers need to get off their poor persecuted sanctimonious butts and quit whining about the cheating scandal, and demanding apologies, because, with rare exceptions, there’s hardly a player or team in baseball that won’t cheat to win; it’s part of the DNA and always has been.

The Dodgers are guaranteed a playoff spot in the weakest division in baseball every year while they hit home runs off terrible pitching staffs, but once the pressure is on, their free swingers fold, year after year.
Advice? Better start cheating. Billy Martin would love you.

Dell Franklin
Cayucos, Calif.
Your headline says Dodgers “could” trade for Mookie Betts, David Price or Kris Bryant. Of course they “could”, but we all know they won’t. Their FOMO (fear of missing out on an affordable prospect) and FOLT (fear of the luxury tax) won’t allow them to go after these big ticket items unless they can rent one of them for a season at little or no cost to their precious farm system and wallets.

But fear not, when asked if he expected to continue dialogue on the trade market, Andrew Friedman assured us, “For sure.” Thanks, Andrew, but as we all know, talk is cheap and so are you and the Dodgers.

Allan Kandel
Los Angeles

For the record

Because of an editing error last week, the meaning was changed in William Snoberger’s letter. His letter said correctly that Dodgers fans will take over Angel Stadium on opening day against the Houston Astros, not March 22, as it was edited.
The Los Angeles Times welcomes expressions of all views. Letters should be brief and become the property of The Times. They may be edited and republished in any format. Each must include a valid mailing address and telephone number. Pseudonyms will not be used.
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