Dear Kobe Bryant,
Thank you. Thank you for everything you’ve done for basketball. You showed people that it’s ok to miss 20 shots in a game and still continue to shoot. You accomplished a thing no player has come close to matching in the last few decades by scoring 81 points in a game. So many people held grudges against you for the reported rape charges you faced, but I ignored that. I knew that was off the court, and on the court there was no other player I watched the way I watched you play. I tried to master all of your patented moves, I also loved the way you played the game. You never gave up and if you made a mistake you would make up for it on the other side of the floor. You always made the game fun by your explosive dunks, deep threes, or sick blocks. You always played with an intensity that you just wanted to win no matter what, and I loved this. That is why when I play I try to play with the same amount of intensity that you played with. Thank you for playing the game and making me better.
Interview with Kobe
Q: What made you think that you were ready to jump straight into the pros?
A: I saw that Kevin Garnett went into the NBA and I felt that I was ready.
Q: How motivated were you when heard that many people doubted your ability to play at the NBA level?
A: It motivated me a lot because I wanted to make sure that they were really wrong in what they thought.
Q: How did moving to Italy at a young age help your basketball game?
A: It helped me with my jump shot and learning the fundamentals of the game like shooting form, footwork, defense, and other essentials to the game.
Q: How did you feel when Charlotte traded you as soon as you were drafted?
A: I felt motivated to prove that that move was a mistake and that I had to make them regret ever trading me.
Q: How did it make you feel to air ball 3 key shots in the playoffs early in your career?
A: I felt confident that I could make those shots they just weren't falling, and I felt like I was the only one willing to take those type of pressure shots. Sure I don't like to miss those type of shots, but I'm not going to kick myself in the foot about them though.
Q: How did it feel when you won 3 championships in a row/
A: It felt like I was on the top of the world and it felt great to know that you were the best team in the league for 3 consecutive years.
Q: How was your relationship with Shaq?
A: It wasn't the best at the time because I felt like you had to work to get the ball and if you didn't work you didn't get the ball. Also we had differences on who was the star and who was the "sidekick" of the team. But now we have patched everything up now and have a really good relationship with each other.
Q: What were those years like when y'all didn't win many games and weren't in contention to win a lot?
A: They were some pretty tough times because I felt like I was physically in my prime and I was putting up spectacular games night after night. But the rest of the team wasn't that great so we continued to lose games and I didn't like that.
Q: Where did your nickname " The Black Mamba" come from?
A: I feel like that when I'm on the court I'm a straight killer, and have that killer instinct that guys need to compete at a high level. And also the ability to strike with 99% accuracy at maximum speed, in rapid succession.
Q: Who did you use to watch play when you were a little kid?
A: I used to watch a lot of videos of Michael Jordan and that is where I got a lot of my moves from. They used to work all the time for him so I thought to implement some of his moves to my game.
Thank you Kobe for this interview.
Off The Court Issues
However, they refused to use his image or market a new shoe of his for the year, but eventually did start promoting Bryant once his image recovered 2 years later. Starting in 2009 he produced his 4th edition of his signature line by Nike, the Zoom Kobe IV. In 2010 Nike launched another shoe, Nike Zoom Kobe V. In 2009, Bryant signed a deal with Nubeo to market the "Black Mamba collection", a line of sports/luxury watches that range from $25,000 to $285,000. In 2013, Forbes listed Bryant the fifth highest paid sports star in the world behind Floyd Mayweather, Cristiano Ronaldo, LeBron James and Lionel Messi.