Thank you, Kobe

Thank you, Kobe.

Thank you from that young kid that watched you play growing up, from the United Kingdom. Thank you for helping me learn and develop an understanding of the game of basketball. Thank you for being there as my passion for the Lakers grew.

Thank you from the adult that I am today. Thank you for the mesmorising performances over the years. Thank you for the championships. Thank you for all of the life lessons you taught me off-the-court.

You were the reason I become a basketball fan. My passion for the Lakers grew single-handedly from you. Every opportunity I’ve had in basketball stems from you. Thank you, Kobe, from the bottom of my heart.

I was truly shocked when hearing the news of Kobe Bryant’s passing yesterday. I really couldn’t believe it at first. The Lakers are a family-owned franchise. The fans are part of that family. Players past and present are part of that family. Kobe was part of that family.

The out-pour of grief from those of all ages across the world shows the impact he had. Not just on Laker fans, not just basketball fans, but anyone across the globe that found inspiration in him.

Everyone knew who Kobe Bryant was, and knew the impact he had on basketball, even if they weren’t particularly a fan of the sport.

You really can’t round-up this man’s accomplishments. They were never-ending. Millions, hundreds of millions of fans had a personal connection with Kobe, they had their own favourite moment, their own moment of inspiration. Even if they hadn’t met him.

It wasn’t just his demeanor on the court that was infectious, but his demeanor off-the-court that was so calm, motivating. He never stood down from a challenge and saw the bright light in all situations. Good or bad. That was infectious to us all looking on.

Those electrifying performances night-in-night-out are unforgettable. He really brought his A-game every single night. The dedication to succeed, the passion to dig deep to achieve dreams, I will carry that forward in life. As will many. That’s the effect he had on us all. That mamba mentality.

Kobe immortalised himself through that stellar playing career. Those “8” and “24” jerseys will hang from the Staples Center rafters forever. They will be a reminder to us all, and generations to come, of the impact Kobe had on us all.

Kobe Bryant was an accomplished basketball player, businessman, author, poet, and most importantly, an accomplished father and husband.

From everyone associated with Lakers Fanclub UK, our thoughts and prayers go out to the Bryant family and to those affected from this tragedy.

Rest easy, Kobe. You will be dearly missed.