KAE for Kobe.
Thank you for playing basketball. No. Thank you for playing the heck out of basketball. Those two sentences are very different and the difference can only be understood when we fully grasp how much you loved playing basketball. You loved it. We felt it. You understood basketball in a way that allowed us to quickly pin your name to every successful shot we made in the privacy of our homes.
Rolls up paper. Throws paper in basket. KOBE! Finishes water. Grabs empty water bottle with gusto. Steps back. Makes shot. KOBE! Our make-believe fans always went wild. “Kobe” is not only a noun, but a verb.
Many have spoke about you and how you inspired them to be a better father, a better athlete, a better employee, and overall, a better person. Allow us to reflect on Kobe in true KAE fashion. (Quotes below were taken from Kobe's 60 minutes interview in 2001. When Bryant spoke to 60 Minutes, he was just four-and-a-half years into his NBA career.)
1, "It's kind of an escapism."- Kobe stated this when talking about how he would turn to basketball when he felt down and needed an out. We can relate. This assurance that something outside ourselves can change us and our circumstance is what KAE was built on. That assurance is God.
2. "Kids weren't speaking English. Everybody was speaking slang and I didn't understand one word,"- When Bryant was six, his family moved to Italy, where his dad continued to play professional ball. Bryant said the experience helped him mature and bond with his family. But when he returned to the U.S. and moved to Philadelphia at age 14, he had a big adjustment to make. We can relate. KAE's message is one that does not include vulgarity, hatred, jealousy, or anything of the sort. We began with all intentions of being different. As this world continues to thrive off of perception sans reality, it is becoming clearer and clearer how different we are and how different we must be.
3. "The ball when it bounces, the sound that it makes, the smell of the basketball -- not one that's completely brand new or one that's too old. But one that's right in the middle. It's kind of worn down a little bit. It just smells -- it smells like NBA,"- Bryant's passion for the game runs deep. When Rose asked him what he loves about basketball, he sounded rapturous about every aspect of the game - even the smell. We can relate. What do we love about KAE? The people we've met but most importantly, the ability that God has given to us to create something that is an extension of our belief in Him. Everything about who the bible says God is, is exciting. It keeps us going.
4. "That one thing that you can expect from me is to go all out at all times," he told Rose. "Long as I can strap my [own] sneakers up and I can go out there and play, I'm going to give you guys 110 percent always, you know, till the day I retire."