Following Kobe Bryant’s highly publicized retirement—April 13 having been his last day on the court—the legendary Los Angeles Laker took a moment to praise his massive Latino fanbase.
“My Latino fans are very important to me because they were the first ones who embraced me the most when I first got here,” he said in Spanish at a recent press conference for Hoy Deportes in Los Angeles. “I told them give me two, three years—I was going to speak Spanish.”
Black Mamba also touched on how much the Latino community really means to him, considering his wife and daughters are also of Latino descent.
After expressing the surreality that comes with being seen as an idol by his own idols — Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, Jerry West and Bill Russell — he shared his thoughts on what he wants to leave behind.
“You have to play with a lot of passion,” he offered, “and have an intense love for the game with all of you.”