I hated Kobe Bryant.
Growing up in the Bay Area as a Warriors fan, why would you like him? He entered the league in 1996 and at the time I didn’t think much of it. After all, he was this high school phenom but hadn’t proved anything yet. But because he was on the Lakers, I knew that this guy was the enemy.
Over the years, that enemy became the villain. He was the nemesis. He was the thorn in my side and on the side of my favorite team.
I hated it when the Lakers won three straight titles. I hated seeing him make those game-winning shots. I didn’t want to hear it when he scored 81 points. I was upset that he won two more titles later in his career.
I would intentionally agitate fans by claiming that he wasn’t the G.O.A.T. and that he wasn’t even the best player of his own generation. (Tim Duncan is better.) When he scored 60 in his final game, I looked at the flaws of his stat line and instead tried to direct the narrative to the Warriors who had just won their 73rd game that same night.
Heck, even when the Lakers retired both his jerseys, I was finding ways to hate on this unprecedented move for a team I didn’t care about.