The two NBA legends came from different cities — Magic from Lansing, Michigan, and Kobe from Philadelphia — before helping to lead the Los Angeles Lakers to five championships each and becoming L.A. Kings forever.
Now, with Wednesday night being the final game of Bryant's iconic, 20-year NBA career, Magic decided to tribute his friend with a heartfelt letter on his website.
"For 20 years, I’ve watched you dominate the game of basketball. From the Great Western Forum to the world famous Staples Center, you have dedicated your life to becoming one of the greatest players this game has ever seen," the Hall of Famer began writing. "Through your commitment to success, outstanding work ethic and winning attitude, each year you perfected your abilities beyond expectation."
After rattling off Bryant's achievements, including five championship rings, 18 All-Star Game selections, being an NBA MVP and two-time Finals MVP, scoring 81 points in a game and being third on the all-time scoring list, Johnson just spoke about the pure joy watching his friend compete through the years.
"Every night you played, I couldn’t wait to watch knowing that I would witness an unbelievable shot or move that I had never seen on the court," Johnson continued. "I marveled at the skills and loved the energy you brought to the game wearing that purple and gold uniform. You never disappointed the city, Laker fans and basketball fans worldwide. All you cared about was winning games and championships and that’s why so many people love you."
After vowing that he'll be remembered amongst the all-time Lakers greats, Johnson continued to put Bryant in the elite hoops class.
"Very few people have changed the game of basketball, but you will be recognized as one of them alongside my Dream Team teammates, Larry Bird and Michael Jordan," he added. "I’ve enjoyed every minute of your career. Thanks for all the fantastic memories. There will never be another Kobe Bryant!"
That's for sure. Salute to the legend!
To read Magic's entire letter to Kobe, click here.
BET Sports News — Get the latest news and information about African-Americans in sports, including weekly recaps, celebrity news and photos of your favorite Black athletes.
(Photo: Leon Bennett/Getty Images)