Kobe Bryant has never been shy about choosing competition over camaraderie. While his diehard dedication to the sport has elevated his level of play above that of his rivals, it has also isolated him from many of his teammates throughout his two decades in the NBA.
Ah, yes. The real Kobe is still in there somewhere, hidden below the smiles and high-fives that he’s put on display throughout his farewell tour these past couple of months.
That now trademarked phrase is an homage to an interview he did this past summer, when he told ESPN’s Jemele Hill that “friends can come and go, but banners hang forever.”
Bryant knows that that mentality is, well, unique, and said as much at the time:
It’s crazy, right? It’s like, "This dude is nuts." But when you grow up, I loved the game so much. It wasn’t on purpose to be a bad friend or not to be as good of a friend. It takes time to do that. It takes a lot of energy to do that.
Players come and go, too, Kobe, but legends are forever. There will never be another Kobe Bryant, that’s for sure.
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