Credit: Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE/Getty

Dear Kobe,

First let me just say,
That people don’t usually write me poems
Frankly, I’m a little flustered
And overwhelmed.

But grateful.

  • Thank you for the kind letter.
  • It was much more than I expected,
  • Much more than I usually get,
  • Which is just a quick speech during your final game
  • Where I have to share top billing with your family, teammates and coaches.
  • Not that there’s anything wrong with that!
  • It’s just nice to be the center of attention for a change.

I’m sorry you couldn’t retire with
More rings than Michael Jordan
But hey,
Five championships is still pretty impressive.
(Just ask Carmelo Anthony.)

Also you’re pretty much the biggest star in the game –
LeBron can hold on for another season until you retire
Everyone knows he’ll inherit the crown,
Calm down, LeBron –
And you have been since that three-peat in 1999, 2000 and ’01.

Plus, you have an absurd number of MVP trophies
Four from the All Star Games
Two from the Finals
And one for the entire season of 2008,
Like, that’s crazy, dude
I hope you appreciate those and display them nicely.

Somewhere with inset lighting that gets dusted a lot.

I mean, I don’t know much about interior design,
But I want to make sure
They get shown the respect they deserve
I don’t give those to just anyone, you know.

VIDEO: Kobe Bryant responds to criticism that his support for Lamar Odom has been insincere

The point I’m trying to make is:
Well, don’t let this go to your head or anything,
But you kind of changed the game.
You were a Superstar
A Champion
An Inspiration for younger players
A Dominant Force on the Court
Also, you took Brandy

to the prom
Which is super cool.

  • Sure, you didn’t always get along with Shaq
  • Or the refs
  • Or most of the new players on the Lakers
  • (Allegedly)
  • But you touched the fans
  • And the other players
  • And the organization
  • And me.

You’re right.

It is time that I let you go.
Frankly, I’m kind of amazed you even have another season in you –
What, with the torn Achilles tendon,
The fractures
The torn rotator cuff
The surgeries
The rehab
The general aches and pains that come with being an “elder statesman” –
Honestly, we should put you in bubble wrap for the rest of the season.

They always said you would die on the court
I’m glad you decided not to take that as a challenge
Preserve your knees, dude
You’re only 37.
I will always be here for you
And I will never forget you.

So, well, I guess there’s only one thing left to say:
Thank you
I’ll miss you
I love you too.

Your BFF forever,

PS: If you’re looking for something to do once you’re retired, I hear Shaq’s been talking about making a Kazaam 2. Just saying.