Dear, Kobe

(Image/Rocky Widner/Getty Images)

Dear Kobe,

Thank you.

Thank you for your spirit, your endeavor, your heart, and your guidance. As a young boy growing up, basketball was never an option as a kid from England. However, the first time I ever saw you play on TV in the purple and gold changed all of that. The intensity you committed to every play and your determination to win at every juncture was inspiring. This is what made me love the game.

Growing up the mamba mentality continued to guide me in every decision I made, be that work, family, or life. Your attitude was the driving force behind my belief that anything could be possible in life if you just work for it. Your belief in yourself led me to believe in myself. If Kobe can do it, I can do it.

I’d often find myself in times of trouble thinking ‘What would Kobe do’ and that would get me through. Your mentality has been passed down to so many people across the globe and I hope that you realized the impact you made on so many.

Basketball was simply the vehicle you used to inspire and for that, I will be forever grateful. LA was your home, and it’s my home too, thanks to you.

Mamba will never be out. Kobe, you are always with us.

Ashley Hooper