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Kobe Bryant to Spencer Dinwiddie: “You’re an All-Star in my book”

Dinwiddie idolized the legendary guard.

Atlanta Hawks v Brooklyn Nets Photo by Brian Babineau/NBAE via Getty Images

Brooklyn Nets guard Spencer Dinwiddie and the rest of the NBA family shared their grief over the tragic loss of Kobe Bryant.

Dinwiddie, a native of Los Angeles, native grew up idolizing the “Black Mamba,” so much so that he wears Kobe’s #8. After the news broke, Dinwiddie choked up while recalling a conversation with the NBA legend last month. After Dinwiddie was not included among the 2020 All-Star Game starters, Bryant told him, “You’re an All-Star in my book.”

Bryant, 41, and his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, were among nine people killed in a helicopter crash Sunday morning in Calabasas, California. This came the morning after LeBron James passed Bryant for third on the NBA all-time scoring list.

Both Kobe and GiGi were in attendance to see the Nets play the Atlanta Hawks in Brooklyn on Dec. 21. GiGi to see her favorite player and mentor Trae Young, and Kobe connected with the veteran player, including Vince Carter and Kyrie Irving, the latter of whom heard the tragic news and left Sunday warm-ups, never returning to the floor.

Dinwiddie soaked up that December experience and shared his excitement of the conversation with Bryant to reporters that night. “(Kobe’s) career was basically my childhood,” Dinwiddie said. “I was juiced. It’s probably why I missed the first three off the backboard, I ain’t going to lie to y’all.” When it was all over, Dinwiddie showed off his “Mamba Mentality” going off for a season-high 39 points in front of Bryant.

Kobe Bryant’s love of Basketball is just like the one shared by Spencer Dinwiddie. As best described in Bryant’s words before retiring in 2015.

“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