I address you in the highest of honours. If it weren’t for my deep belief in God’s works, I’d be lying to myself that you’re still alive.
But Mamba, sadly, you’re out. Gone.
Straight from High School, you made the big leap to the NBA draft. You were young, yes, but that was no problem.
In the study of snakes, a juvenile Black Mamba has the same venom as an old Mamba. So, age wasn’t going to stand in your way. You came into the tough world of seasoned hard men and dominated. That’s “Mamba Mentality”.
I got to know about you towards 2000. I was only 13 years. I started following the NBA because of you. I supported the Lakers because of you. Not because of Tyronn Lue. Not because of Shaquille O’Neal. I just didn’t ‘feel’ them.
Small and young as you were, you stood up to Shaq, yes, Big Shaq. You showed him that life is about working hard. Nothing comes easy.
You taught us to trust two things: Discipline and hard work. You worked you socks off, day and night. “I don’t tolerate lazy people. We don’t speak the same language. I cant understand them,” you said. What an inspiration you were!
When you retired, I lost my love for the game. Strange? Yes. But that’s the truth. It’s a shame that I cant name the current Lakers roster off-head.
I remember your last game like it happened just yesterday. I stayed out late after work. I had to wake up with red eyes. But it was worth it. You showed the Utah Jazz that you were a real Black Mamba. You stung the Utah Jazz. You scored 60 points. You gave us the perfect sign-out: “Mamba Out,” you said.
The following day, I killed my workmates. I told them I had watched the real Mamba. You had played arguably one of the best games of your 20-year career. Sadly, that was the last I ever saw you play. “Mamba Out,” you said.
Sometimes I doubted you. Because of the wear and tear that your body had taken in. But being the Mamba that you’re, you kept grinding. I am very sorry for doubting you. I was stupid. No one doubts Mamba. Mamba is exactly that; Black Mamba.
I will tell my kids that God gave me the pleasure to watch you play. I’ve watched hundreds of ‘ball players. But look… how many players do get their two jerseys retired?
A Black Mamba is the most poisonous snake in the world. You dished out that poison to your opponents; but, with a smile.
We can only have one Mamba. And that is you. Kobe Bryant. Rest In Peace, fly high.