(Image/Yahoo! Sports)

Dear Kobe,

I never knew you personally, I’ve never met you or talked to you or had any interaction with you. Yet somehow, someway, you made an impact on my life more than I like to admit. Like so many others, I fell in love with your electrifying play-style, your charismatic smile, and all those post-game interviews that made me feel like working myself to the bone.

Kobe, you were the epitome of the grind. All us fans envied your dedication and passion to the sport of basketball. My very first article was about you, my first jersey was yours, and I would always be that one guy who mentioned your name during any NBA debate, whether you were a part of it or not. It was your highlights and your speeches that got me through any tough times. You were my idol, my role model, and my inspiration.

When you left basketball, I thought you would never be the same. There was no more platform for us to see your greatness anymore, but almost instantly, you made major strides in other industries. Winning Oscars, writing books, helping athletes, you brought the same level of excellence to everything you did. But of course you did, because that’s what the Mamba Mentality was to you, the constant pursuit of absolute excellence.

Kobe, you were the driving force behind so many people. You helped me pick myself up when I was down, helped me stay positive when nothing was going right, turn nothing into something. But now you’re gone, and there’s no driving force behind me to help me jump over this hurdle.

You’ve impacted so many people and brought everyone together, lovers, haters, friends, enemies, every-bodies, and nobodies. You may be gone, but you will forever be an icon to the city of Los Angeles, the Lakers, and the world.

Your Mamba Mentality will live on within all of your fans, and I pray that one day I can make someone as happy as you’ve made me all these years.

Thank you for everything,

Srikar