I started the thread. I'm 30. My intention of this thread was not to diminish Magic's HIV announcement and retirement and seriousness of HIV/AIDS and mortality. I was 13 when I started watching Kobe play. Now I'm 30. He's been a part of my life for a long time and he's been a Laker for 17 Years! Here is a FB message I sent to him when he opened his FB account last summer:
Just want to say me, my dad and my brother are huge fans of yours. We remember the afternoon in 1996 listening to the NBA draft when our Lakers traded Vlade away for a young gaurd out of High School via Philly. I was 13, my bro was 10, you were 17. We immediately identified with you out of all of the other players. Being lifelong Laker fans, we were excited about finally having a player with skills and potential comparable to our beloved Magic Johnson. The rest is history... The early years, those missed shots against The Jazz in the playoffs... 31 points in the rookie game... Becoming an Allstar and busting a one handed behind the back dribble and floater in the Allstar game... The 'Fro years... The Three-Peat with Phil, Shaq, Fish, Rob, Shaw and Foxy...15 threes in one game... The down years/dark years... Phil and Fish coming back.... 62 in 3.... 81 points in regulation...your first and only MVP (I can't believe you didn't get more) back to the Finals with Pau and Lamar 3 times..winning 2... And now getting Dwight rolling with you... So many memories!
We've seen every game that you've played, if not, seen highlights and box scores for all of your games since '96.
I turn 30 this October and you've just turned 34...(happy belated btw)..You've been in our lives as Laker fans for 17 years ... Over half my own life! We've all grown up together in a way and had many trials and tribulations... Successes and challenges.
I've never met you in person, but because we've seen so many of your games, we feel like we know you like you're a cousin... or somthing. I don't know if that makes any sense.
My point is, there's this connection me and my family have to you over your career and many of our great memories involve you and the Lakers.
We may never ever cross paths and meet in person... Everyone has to walk their own path... But with u becoming active on FB, it's feel the need to tell you all that ive just told you and most of all to say this:
Thank you for thoroughly entertaining us and for all the great moments my brother, father and I have had watching you create works of art on the hardwood. You will be remembered forever!
It's great to have the chance to tell you that after 17 years!
Best of luck this season and know that me and mine will be rooting for you to climb to the top of that mountain next June! God bless you and your family.
I hope this helps frame why I felt this was a bigger loss for me. As a 10 year old when Magic retired, I understood less than I do now what it means to lose a legend. Kobe is OUR legend more than Ervin ever was
If on the morrow of the revolution, the masses of the people have only phrases at their service, if they do not recognize, by clear and blinding facts, that the situation has been transformed to their advantage, if the overthrow ends only in a change of persons and forumlae, nothing will have been acheived. -Peter Kropotkin