HomeSportsOn This Day: Kobe Bryant Gives Iconic Speech at Jersey Retirement 3 Years Ago

On This Day: Kobe Bryant Gives Iconic Speech at Jersey Retirement 3 Years Ago

by Matthew Wilson
Photo credit: Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Three years ago NBA legend Kobe Bryant gave a rousing speech on his legacy. The Los Angeles Lakers athlete retired his jersey by reflecting on his two-decade career in the sport.

In the speech, he thanked his wife Vanessa for supporting him through his career and especially at the end when it came time to retire.

“You guys don’t know this,” Bryant said. “But my last game, the last game we had here against the Utah Jazz, I was really tired. I got home, and I was like I don’t know if I can do this thing. I got one more game left. But I don’t have any legs. She said I want to show you something. I got a gift for you for your last game. She proceeded to show me a row of retired jerseys from Baylor, from Magic, from Shaq, from Kap. All with personal messages signed to me. Including from Michael Jordan, including from the great Bill Russell. Including from the great Larry Bird. When I saw that, I knew then I had to turn it up.”

Kobe Bryant Lived His Dream

It’s hard to watch the speech without thinking about Bryant’s death earlier this year. Given all that’s happened in 2020, the athlete’s passing feels long ago. For instance, Bryant never experienced a global pandemic caused by COVID-19. He never experienced a lot that 2020 had to offer. Bryant and his daughter Gianna died in a helicopter crash on Jan 26.

Gianna and her sisters watched their father from the sidelines as he turned from focusing on his career to be their father. The NBA legend was posed to retire gracefully and watch his children rise in his stead. Gianna followed in her footsteps playing basketball and working hard.

“You guys know if you do the work, if you work hard enough dreams come true,” Bryant said. “You know that. We all know that. But hopefully what you get from tonight is the understanding that those times when you get up early and you work hard. Those times when you stay up late and work hard. Those times when you don’t feel like working and you’re too tired and you don’t want to push yourself but you do it anyway. That is actually the dream. It’s not the destination, it’s the journey.”

Bryant made his dreams come true every time he played and stood on that court.