Dear Kobe,

You were not the first to fall in love with me. There were others who professed and proclaimed.

Some burned bright. Most burned out.

I watched them all come and go. Because I’ve seen it all. Every game. From peach baskets to the present. See, I know what greatness looks like. I know what it takes. I know it’s not for everybody. So, yeah, I was skeptical. Skeptical a kid from Lower Merion could take me places I’d never been. Skeptical your game could inspire nations and generations.

So I tested you. From Day 1, I tested you. I threw everything I had at you. I wanted to see if Draft Day would destroy you or drive you. I wanted to see if those airballs in Utah would be a shot to your confidence. I wanted to see if broken bones and banged up knees and separated shoulders and torn tendons would lessen your love.

They deepened it.

You didn’t have to tell me you loved me. You showed me. You showed us.

I have inspired many but been inspired by few.

You are my Hero!

Thank you, Basketball  (Nike)

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