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Dear Kobe: An ode to the Spurs-Lakers rivalry

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You may have noticed that Kobe Bryant dropped a little missive to the sport of basketball. What follows is a Spurs fan's lament that the Spurs will never again battle the Black Mamba in a meaningful game.

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Dear Kobe,

It's been awhile
Since you've been a dominant basketball player
Draining fadeaway jumpers
And embarrassing defenders
In front of the entire world
But even though your skills are diminished, I have to admit:

I will miss watching you play basketball.

You've been a pleasure to all basketball fans
From your time with Shaq and Phil Jackson
Ro the end of days as you idle alongside Hibbert and Sacre

As a six-year-old boy
Watching from afar
I never thought this day would ever come
The day you wouldn't be wearing a jersey with "LAKERS" affixed on the center
As you desperately fend off Father Time with each game

And basketball won't be the same without you.
The NBA will survive, of course
There's excellent young talent rising in the ranks
That may rival yours
But will never rival your competitive ferocity
You were always unique for that.

You played thousands of minutes, attempted thousands of shots and won hundreds of games
Not many players have risen to the occasion quite like you
For awhile, you had the Spurs' number
Winning playoff games
And completing a three-peat
You dashed the hopes and dreams of the 2000 Spurs, the 2001 Spurs, 2002 Spurs and 2004 Spurs
Along with Derek stinking Fisher

You gave a six-year-old boy a taste of basketball royalty
And I'll always appreciate you for it.
But no one, not even Old Man Riverwalk himself, can play basketball forever.
This season has proved that.
After all, your field goal percentage is lower than your age
The Lakers are suffering from your questionable shot selection
It's time to say goodbye.

And that's expected.
But I'm still not ready to let the Spurs-Lakers rivalry go
The clashes between two basketball titans
Pitting Shaq and Kobe against Duncan and Robinson
With Phil Jackson sparring with Gregg Popovich on the sidelines
I savor the good and the bad moments
Everything.

And we both know, no matter how this season plays out
You'll always be one of Tim Duncan's best rivals, if not the best
Bringing out the best of the Spurs
And being a measuring stick
For their championship aspirations
Careers come and go,
But the Tim Duncan vs. Kobe Bryant rivalry is forever

Respect you always,
Spurs fans