- - Monday, January 27, 2020

I am an unapologetic Boston Celtics basketball fan. I cheer them on with determined TV-watching-fan loyalty. I have my short list of opposing players I loved to root against; these super stars are so despicably great at what they do, at getting their way too often at my Celtics’ expense, that I can’t help but to respect and admire them.

The Los Angeles Lakers’ Kobe Bryant was one of just two opposing players I feared giving my Celtics a loss during any given game (“Kobe Bryant remembered for life on the court and off after tragic helicopter crash,” Web, Jan. 26). The only other player was Michael Jordan. Time and time again, Kobe “Black Mamba” Bryant athletically stole that day’s game and beat my team. Every time he ruthlessly did it, I couldn’t stand the fact he had broken my and other Boston fans’ hearts yet again.

How come he stole our championship? I asked God. Why couldn’t he play awfully when I needed him to? But what I did not do was hate Kobe personally — because his on-another-level play, his tireless work ethic, his indomitable no-surrender will to win all commanded my respect.

Today and for weeks to come, millions of people living in every country of the world — even those whom cheered against Kobe — will deeply mourn his and his daughter’s passings. The number of those watching or listening to his upcoming funeral may even set a world record.

Today I am a Lakers fan. We all are.



AJ CASTILLA

North Providence, R.I.

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