Dear Basketball – A Poem by Kobe Bryant

Dear Basketball,

From the moment
I started rolling my dad’s tube socks
And shooting imaginary
Game-winning shots
In the Great Western Forum
I knew one thing was real:

I fell in love with you.
A love so deep I gave you my all
From my mind & body
To my spirit & soul.

As a six-year-old boy
Deeply in love with you
I never saw the end of the tunnel.
I only saw myself
Running out of one.

And so I ran.
I ran up and down every court
After every loose ball for you.
You asked for my hustle
I gave you my heart
Because it came with so much more.

I played through the sweat and hurt
Not because challenge called me
But because YOU called me.
I did everything for YOU
Because that’s what you do
When someone makes you feel as
Alive as you’ve made me feel.

You gave a six-year-old boy his Laker dream
And I’ll always love you for it.
But I can’t love you obsessively for much longer.
This season is all I have left to give.
My heart can take the pounding
My mind can handle the grind
But my body knows it’s time to say goodbye.
And that’s OK.

I’m ready to let you go.
I want you to know now
So we both can savor every moment we have left together.
The good and the bad.
We have given each other
All that we have. 

And we both know, no matter what I do next
I’ll always be that kid
With the rolled up socks
Garbage can in the corner
:05 seconds on the clock
Ball in my hands.
5 … 4 … 3 … 2 … 1
Love you always,
Kobe

https://www.theplayerstribune.com/en-us/articles/dear-basketball
Kobe

The Legacy

In 2007, the Bryants launched the VIVO Foundation — now known as the Kobe & Vanessa Bryant Family Foundation (KVVFF). Their goal is to provide young people with life-changing experiences designed to broaden their global perspectives. Through this initiative, Kobe and Vanessa have sponsored international enrichment experiences for minority college students and provided domestic and international youth scholarships for the Kobe Bryant Basketball Academy.

The foundation strives to encourage young people to stay active through sports. It provides financial resources, develops distinctive programs and raises awareness for relevant issues in order to strengthen communities through educational and cultural enrichment opportunities.

KVBFF also operates Mamba FC, a youth soccer club in Orange County, California. Per their mission statement:

We teach our young athletes how to become leaders and independent thinkers, while working together as a group to achieve a common goal through health and fitness.

http://mambafc.com/

The KVBFF is passionate about eradicating youth homelessness. To accomplish this goal, they partnered with a number of Los Angeles-based organizations including Step Up on Second, My Friend’s Place and United Way.

As we remember Kobe Bryant, our first thought is his basketball career. That career afforded him the opportunity to effect change by improving the lives of the underserved.

How Can You Continue Kobe’s Legacy

If you are a nonprofit that caters to youth and in particular youth in sports, you may fund your organization through grants. GrantWatch has several hundred grants listed in the Sport and Recreation category. If you are a for-profit company, try doing a grant search on MWBEzone

The moment you give up, is the moment you let someone else win.

Kobe Bryant

RIP Kobe⛹️‍♂️ 😢