Sunday, November 29, 2015

Dear Kobe: A Letter From a Celtics Fan


Dear Kobe Bryant,

I hate you.

Can you blame me?  As a Celtics fan, I rooted against you for two decades.  I rejoiced in your agony when my Celtics beat you in the 2008 Finals.  Paul Pierce deserved it way more than you did.  You already had three rings at the time.

But three just wasn’t enough for you.  You got your revenge and ultimately your fifth ring in 2010 while ripping my heart out in the process.  I hope you still know how lucky you are that Kendrick Perkins was out for Game 7.

I read your letter in the Players' Tribune today and was shocked.  Not because you announced your retirement – we all already knew that.  I was shocked because of the way your letter made me feel. 

In my mind, I have always grouped you and Derek Jeter together.  You are the players that we as Boston fans bitterly hate, but cannot help but respect.  You played the game the right way – with passion, pride, and professionalism. 

You were true students of the game who pursued greatness by working harder than anybody.   You became generational icons of your respective sports.  You embraced every challenge.  You gave it your all. You put your bodies on the line.  You knew how to win.  You respected your sport, your craft, and your rivalry with Boston.

December 30 marks the last time that you will play in Boston.  This is also the last opportunity for us Celtics fans to cheer our team to victory against arguably the most dominant player in the storied history of the Celtics and Lakers.  

As you go, so goes what is left of the rivalry that once dominated the NBA.  Perhaps someday it will be rekindled by new faces.  Perhaps not.

So when you come to the Garden next month, I hope the crowd puts you through hell.  I hope we heckle you and boo you more emphatically than we did in the championship bouts.  I hope you miss every single free throw.  I hope you never forget what it’s like to be surrounded by 17,000 screaming fans who bleed green and would give anything to watch you fail one last time. 

I hope we beat LA once again.  And when you get pulled from the lineup halfway through the fourth quarter when my Celtics are up by 20 points, I think something beautiful will happen. 

Every single person in the Garden will stop booing.  We will rise to our feet and show respect in the form of the loudest, most passionate standing ovation you have ever witnessed.  We will chant your name.  We will wipe our eyes.  We will say our bittersweet farewells.

They say you never truly know what you got 'til it’s gone.  So before you go, I just want to say thank you for being far more than just a great basketball player.  To an entire generation of NBA fans, you are basketball. 

I can’t believe I’m saying this… but I’m really going to miss you.

Love (and hate) you always,
A Celtics fan who didn’t appreciate you enough

36 comments:

  1. wow, brought a tear to my eye - I love the analogy to Jeter who I couldn't stand the sight of until literally that very moment when he left part of his face on that seat on the 3rd base side of Fenway just to catch a foul ball. I sat there watching the replay over and over knowing I'd never seen anything like it, Kobe was the same way - guys like that make it more bitter when we lose but sweeter when we win.

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    1. You mean 3rd base side of yankees stadium?

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    2. Yeah seriously, I was at that game. Definitely NY.

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  2. Jonathan, as a long time Laker fan (I went from a bucks fan to a Laker fan when Kareem Abdul Jabarr became a Laker), I have always felt that same bitterness to your team and it's players as well.

    I could not stand Bird,Johnson,Parrish and Pierce and couldn't believe that Garnett ended up on your team and then there's Ainge and Mc cale! Damn I hated those guys with passion and couldn't believe that they beat my Lakers in the finals!

    With that being said, I always had respect that they found a way to win and because they were champions. As it goes without saying that as a Laker fan that we appreciate the letter that you wrote showing the kind of respect that OUR KOBE DESERVES. Jonathon even though you guys won a few (mostly in 60s). You guys have never had a Magic, Kareem and will NEVER have a Kobe.

    Anyway what I am trying to say is that KOBE Bryant is THE BEST BASKETBALL PLAYER EVER AND HE WAS and forever will be only a LAKER

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    1. Umm, Laker fan here too bub. You know they had a Bird, right? Arguably the best forward ever to play the game.

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    2. And not to mention a Bill Russell.

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  3. Man im so hurt. Just hurt. Speechless. Great man , great player....LEGEND.

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  4. WOW!!

    As a die hard Larkers fan and can only say right back at ya.

    I've always hated the Celtics, but in the same way loved them.

    Celtic's and Lakers has always been one-anothers kryptonite.

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  5. I actually written a short paragraph about Kobe's retirement the day he announce it, as a Celtic fan since I was a young boy during Larry bird's era. I never thought I will shed a tear for a Laker and especially the enigmatic Kobe. Here it goes:

    I always hate this guy especially in 2010 when he broke my heart and my dear old Celtics was defeated in the finals by the purple & gold team, but I admire Kobe and what he did for basketball. Salute! ‪#‎wishyouthebestkobe‬

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  6. Well said. He really is BASKETBALL of this generation.

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  7. I cry. As a laker throughout my life. This makes me feel the same way to their celtics . I respect Celtics fan because of this letter. T_T

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  8. Celtics fans love bringing up not having Kendrick Perkins for game 7 but they always forget we didn't have Andrew Bynum for the whole finals in 2008, arguably Bynums best season.

    That being said, amazing letter. I have always said Boston fans are total A-holes 99.9% of the time...this is that .01%. Thanks.

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    1. Couldn't have put it better myself, Doc Rivers always brings that up, but fails to mention Bynum in 2008.

      As far as the letter, I've always felt the same way about Bird, hated but respected him for being so damn good. Wow, was that hard to say. ....

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  9. Imagine they rest Kobe that game ��. On the real though beautiful written letter.

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  10. First of all let me say this as a laker... I applauded you...for your true and your respect for my idol I am having a hard time accepting his retirement and I have hated Boston for as long as Kobe suited up for my lakers but I can say this now I respect this Boston fan! #mambafanout

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  11. First of all let me say this as a laker... I applauded you...for your true and your respect for my idol I am having a hard time accepting his retirement and I have hated Boston for as long as Kobe suited up for my lakers but I can say this now I respect this Boston fan! #mambafanout

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  12. Wow, that is just a fantastic letter. I'm 54, grew up a Laker fan watching West and Wilt, then lived and died with Showtime. Magic, Worthy and Kareem against Bird, McHale and Parrish, it just didn't get any better than that. For a sports fan, the highest of highs, the lowest of lows. Then round 2, the fantastic battles between the Kobe-era Lakers and the Celtics led by Pierce, KG and Allen. Fantastic, bitter, hard-fought games. Sports is simply better when your team of choice is not just contending for championships but has a worthy opponent. I hated Larry Bird, hated Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce, but I had a deep respect for their games, and a love for this rivalry. Thank you for your letter, it expressed all these sentiments beautifully. Well done, sir.

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  13. Absolutely LOVE this. Felt the exact same way when Larry retired. Very classy on your part.

    P.S.....I hope you know how lucky you guys were when Andrew Bynum didn't play any games in the 2008 Finals. : )

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  14. Dear Celtic fan who penned this letter, Thank you. Much respect to you and your fanbase. I hate you as much as you hate us die-hard Lakers fans but I damn well respect the Celtics and their devoted fans to the utmost. Here's to us meeting somewhere in the 2020's battling for another banner. Again, just a beautiful and thoughtful take from the mind of my adversary.

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  15. I knew there are some good people left in this world of ours. "Celtic Fan" thank you for this great letter! Your a class act yourself!
    Now back to reality. Celtic suck... Go Lakers!
    LOL #KobeBryant

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  16. That was truly a great letter paying much respect to the G.O.A.T in my mind. I may be biased as a life long Lakers fan, but looking back at Kobe's career achievements and his highlights of game winning shots I can't help but to put him in the category as the "greatest of all time"... He carried the NBA for years after Jordan, Bird & Magic left and the NBA only gave him 1 MVP honor, while giving Steve Nash 2 MVP's back to back which is crazy... Thank you "Celtic Fan" for keeping it real, I will miss Kobe and his heroics just as much as you and even more as my beloved Lakers continue to struggle as a team looking for the key players to fill the void that Kobe will leave...Much respect! Lakers4Life...

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  17. As Lakers fans were lucky to have such worthy adversaries. I vow to teach my 2 sons to hate hate hate The Boston Celtics. But RESPECT them with upmost like they deserve. #Respect

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  18. Thanks for this. Brought a tear to my eye. Not only because of the Kobe stuff, but because I actually liked what a Boston fan was saying. But seriously, this is great.
    -From a Lakers fan who loves Larry Bird.

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  19. One of my favorite Kobe winners. Dropping a dagger in your house !

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ciIJXOs7zH8

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  20. Damn u Celtics fan's!! Stop proving me wrong about u guys! #LAKERS4LIFE

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  21. This was amazing to read. Gave me chills!

    I absolutely hate everything about Boston and the Celtics- because of this rivalry i grew up watching.

    Thanks for this. Kobe deserves it.

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  22. Respect brother. I felt the same way about Larry Bird.

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  23. Dam! I hate the Celtics and there fans so much... But this is to real to hate on. Loved it...much respect. #Lakersforlife

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  24. Born & raised in L.A and a huge Laker fan, You just got me choked up. It is surreal that Kobe is retiring from the game... tears are flowing as I am writing this. I too hope that one day we will rekindle the amazing rivalry that is the L.A Lakers vs the Boston Celtic... well written celtic fan! Our Kobe will be no more in a few short months :(

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  25. The writer is spot on. As a Boston fan, you can add Mariano Rivera and Peyton Manning to the list with Kobe and Jeter of people we hate, but damn do we respect. We loved every second, of every battle and made sure to let you know how we felt about you wearing other colors despite the obvious greatness. Kobe will certainly be missed in Boston. If the celtics fans attending that night do not give him a standing ovation, I'll truly be disappointed in them.

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  26. Well done from a 76er fan and Andrew Toney's #1 fan. And a Bird admirer. Greatness comes in all uniforms. Kobe delivered. I saw him in the Pennsylvania High School Championship v Erie Prep. They played 3 on 1 on Kobe and led at the half. Great decision by the Lower Merion coach in the 2nd half, they let Kobe get the inbounds where 3 guys couldn't stop him from an stationary pass, Once he caught the ball he was too fast for even three players to catch him. Erie Prep ran the weave - I'm not kidding, what a game

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  27. From a life long Lakers fan. I have one word for you. Class! Thank you.

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  28. #Respect from a Lakers fan....felt the same when Larry Legend retired.

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