On November 29th, 2015, Kobe Bryant officially announced his retirement through a poem on the players tribune. Thank God I bought my Sixers/Lakers tickets a while back. I paid $25 for my ticket, and after the announcement, they went over $100. Laker tickets back at home are always too expensive so even though it wasn't on home court, this was actually my first "Laker" game.
I played basketball for 7 years as a little girl, and in those 7 years I really learned what it meant to work hard and push myself to my limits. Dang, I forgot how much I love basketball.
As funny as this sounds, I got really emotional when I read Kobe's poem. When I was in 4th grade, I was assigned to do a project on any famous American. I showed up to school dressed as Kobe and passed out gatorade for all the students and parents who came to see my Kobe exhibit. Yup, I was that kind of kid.
I remember sitting in my parents' room in front of our little box TV as my brother would scream "TWO POINT GAME. IT'S A TWO POINT GAME."
I remember eating casserole at my friend's house as we watched the Lakers fall short of another championship against Boston.
I remember Kobe standing behind the free throw line as the crowd chanted "MVP."
I remember my brother being on the phone while watching a Laker game when he realized that "Kobe has small ears." Now even to this day, all I notice on Kobe's smooth bald head is his small ears. (I know, weird).
The past couple of years I kind of forgot about basketball. Time Warner Cable bought out the Lakers broadcasting station or something, and I eventually stopped watching. Phil Jackson retired and everyone started to get traded out.
But even before Kobe's announcement, everyone knew this would be the year. And so just in case, I decided to go to the Sixer game. I've been watching the Lakers for almost 10 years--I had to see Kobe play live at least once. Honestly, my timing in Philadelphia could not have been better.
At the end of the game, all the 76ers fan celebrated their first season victory. You know the Lakers have hit rock bottom when they lose to Philadelphia. But what really melted my heart was when the entire stadium stood up and chanted "Kobe."
In an interview with Robin Roberts, Roberts asked Kobe to say the first thing that comes to mind when he hears certain words. When Roberts said Los Angeles, Kobe said "home." When she said Philadelphia, Kobe said home again. I feel so honored to call those same two places home.
Anyways, thanks for the memories, Kobe.
Love you always,