A Letter to Kobe Bryant

Joel Sang Uk Cung, Staff Writer

Dear Kobe,

From the moment I heard the phrase, “Kobe Never Miss,” I was captivated. I didn’t know who you were and I didn’t know why kids my age were saying, “Kobe!” every time they shot something in the trash can. I’m a refugee from Burma and the only sport I ever played there was soccer. When I arrived here in the Hoosier state with all these kids playing basketball, I didn’t understand how they could enjoy it so much.

My brother began playing basketball and he loved Lebron James. For me, basketball wasn’t appealing to me even when I saw players like Lebron. All that changed when the 2010 NBA Finals were shown on ABC. Every time I saw a player in a Lakers jersey with an arm sleeve on his left, I was excited because I knew something amazing was going to happen. When you went to the free-throw line I always whispered to myself, “Kobe never miss.” My first memory of you from that series was in the second quarter when you won the ball after a jump ball. You took a dribble with two defenders guarding you and you drained the jumper while being contested. YOU are the reason I fell in love with the game of basketball. I wanted to dribble like you, shoot like you, and be everything that you are. Your intimidating face in the fourth quarter of a close game shows just how much you want the win. I have seen so many compilation videos of all of your game-winning shots and I try to imagine myself making those shots just like you.

You gave everything you had to the game that you love. Your strong dedication and undeniable desire to be the best is inspiring to me. You showed me that I don’t have to be the strongest, the tallest, the fastest, or even the smartest to be where you are. You showed me that I can learn from losing, but that does not mean it’s okay to lose. I want to always push myself one more step, just as you did. I want to be the best version of myself so that I don’t have any regrets. Not only did you show me this game that I have come to love, but also the mindset of what it means to be like you. People all over the world, top athletes of the world respect you and your game. It felt as if the world came to a stop when I heard the news of your passing. I know that no one wanted to believe it. You brought so much to the game of basketball and your mentality will be carried on for generations to come. Mamba out… but not forgotten. Thank you, Kobe!

– A fan of basketball