The Los Angeles Lakers' loss to the Indiana Pacers on Monday night was Kobe Bryant's final game in the city where he won his first title, and it was also his final game against rookie center Myles Turner. Turner has been impressive during his first season in the NBA, and is averaging 14.3 points, 6.3 rebounds, and 1.9 blocks on 56.3 percent shooting over the past 15 games. However, most wouldn't see the significance in a match-up between the two, as there is no previously reported friendship between the two and they play totally different positions.
Apparently Turner was inspired by Kobe while he was growing up, though, because the 19-year old wrote an open thank you letter to the retiring veteran after the game that he posted on his website. In the letter, Turner thanks Bryant for inspiring him and for giving himself and other fans the opportunity to watch his unforgettable NBA career:
Thank you for inspiring me in ways that you'll never understand or even know.
Thank you for defying the odds coming out of high school and becoming one of the greatest players to ever play our beloved game
Thank you for the countless hours of work you put in when the world wasn't watching
Thank you for letting me experience one of the most unforgettable games in my short-lived career thus far
Thank you for the beauty in your struggle to get to where you're at today
Thank you for proving the doubters wrong
And most importantly Mr.Bryant....
Thank you for your legacy
Like LeBron James, Paul George, and countless other players have made clear this season, Bryant captivated the younger generation now entering the NBA just like he did fans. Even if they play different styles and positions, apparently "Mamba Mentality" transcends such boundaries.