Love Letters from LA

Growing up in a house with only 1 sister, 1 girl cousin and 10 boy cousins - it was hard not to watch basketball. Spending hours outside playing in our dirt backyard and hearing the boys shout Kobe as they played HORSE or 21 was a day in the life. Being raised in a very low income neighborhood, there was nothing more to do other than get in trouble or play ball. Luckily, the people I loved continuously chose the latter. And if there's one person we can thank for that, it's Kobe Bryant: the man who taught us LA babies what it meant to chase a dream. 

 

Unfortunately, as seems to be the case with most good people, his buzzer ran out too soon. But if there's anything my family can take comfort in, it's that grief is the final act of love. And in our home, Kobe Bryant's legacy is nothing short of that. He gave us 20 years here in Los Angeles. We witnessed two eras of Kobe leaving it all out on the court — one with him as #8 and one with him as #24. And we will continue to cherish both. 

 

(Photo courtesy of twitter.com)

 

So until we're all able to watch you hit one more game winning shot, we'll enjoy the memories you left us with. All the times we huddled around the 2 couches that were supposed to hold 4 families in our nana's living room just to watch you play. All the times we held our faces in an anxious sweat as we watched you against the Celtics for the best of 7. We'll remember the laughs we shared over the System Commercial you did with Kanye West. We’ll rejoice when we finally have kids of our own and are able to share Dear Basketball with them. And we'll be eternally grateful that when we asked for your hustle, you gave us your heart. But until then, we'll be missing you from here. 

 

We'll remember the lessons you gave us as snot nosed children, and the lessons you gave us now. To laugh more. To love more. To forgive more. And ultimately, to live more. To go home and joke with our brothers some more. To call our older sisters more. To share more coffee, conchas and conversations with our moms. And to hug our dads a little tighter and a little longer. 

(Photo courtesy of twitter.com)

 

For now, we'll keep wishing for purple and yellow sunsets as our younger siblings play hoops until it's dark outside because we'll know it's you coaching them. And we won't be upset when it's cloudy out anymore because we'll hope it's you and Gigi using the sun to shoot some hoops. We'll think of you when we ride past the Staple Center and recall the chanting of your name, as if it were yesterday. We'll continue to watch you live on through our wallside murals, our tributes, and our lights in your honor - because you were right, legends never die. But most importantly, we'll make sure that you know that Los Angeles was grateful to have you for as long as we did. 

 

So, thank you. To the man who showed the slums that if you chase your dreams with enough determination, dedication and resilience; you can turn them into a reality. To the man who inspired us gutter kids that there's more to life than the streets. To the man who demonstrated that sometimes all you need is a basketball, friends and Mamba Mentality. 

 

From the hood, with all our love, thank you — for everything.

We'll miss you.

 

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Rest in peace Kobe Bryant. Rest in peace Gianna Bryant. Rest in peace John Altobelli. Rest in peace Keri Altobelli. Rest in peace Alyssa Altobelli. Rest in peace Christina Mauser. Rest in peace Sarah Chester. Rest in peace Payton Chester. Rest in peace Ara Zobayan.