A chunk of this past NBA All-Star Weekend was dedicated to paying tribute to Kobe Bryant during his 20th and final season.
But while his fellow All-Stars gathered on the court Sunday night to pay tribute to the Black Mamba, three players, in particular, rented out a Toronto restaurant to personally salute the five-time champion... and they came bearing gifts.
"It was really special," Bryant told the AP about his fellow All-Stars and friends making that effort to salute him. "Those are the things you don't get a chance to hear when you're competing against each other. To hear those stories now, you have such a deep sense of appreciation and such a brotherhood from all the years of competing against each other. It just felt good."
So, what did they get one of the game's greatest players ever?
The AP says Wade gave Bryant a customized robe and a one-year Netflix subscription, since the 37-year-old will have time on his hands following retirement. What better way to unwind than Netflix and chill... with your wife.
Paul also prepared Bryant for retirement with a bunch of silly gifts, including reading glasses, a cane, dental adhesive and compression socks, while Anthony gave him a bottle of Gaja Barbaresco, vintage Italian wine from 1996 as a head nod of respect to Kobe's rookie year.
"Respect," Wade told the AP. "That's what it was. It was about respect, ours for him and the respect he's given us. I just wanted to tell him that his respect meant a lot, means a lot, to my career. I went down a list of moments, gave people insight on Kobe and the way he thinks. It was just appreciation, man. His drive, his competitiveness, it helped me early in my career because I wanted to be on his level."
"This is amazing," Bryant reportedly said at the restaurant, with a glass in hand. "I'm not the most social person, so to get this from you guys means absolutely everything to me."
Apparently, Melo, CP3 and D. Wade started their traditional dinner following All-Star Saturday Night last season, with this year's installment including the Black Mamba.
Nothing like respect from your peers.
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(Photo: Elsa/Getty Images)
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