After 20 years in the NBA, Kobe Bryant will retire this week as a player that just about everybody outside the Los Angeles Lakers organization and fan base hated. Even though his final season has been a victory lap of warm feelings, extended farewells, and total obsession, the people who competed against him while he was in his prime don't exactly recall those memories so fondly.
As part of a promotional campaign by Nike to enshrine Bryant's last game on April 13 as "Mamba Day," the company has gathered together its biggest athlete sponsors to share those thoughts, and pay respect to The Black Mamba's notoriously competitive nature and embracement of villainy. From LeBron James to Serena Williams to Tiger Woods, the legends in their own right all tell stories about Bryant's love for the game, which drove him to be one of the most intense players the league has ever seen.
"He always played because he loved the sport," said Williams. "Not for any other reason."
At the end, the video cuts quickly from athlete to athlete to get their one-word summation of Bryant. Ranging from "unstoppable" to "asshole," it's a simultaneously funny and endearing look at how much he impacted both basketball and the sports world at large over two decades.
Check out the full tribute below:
(H/T: Darren Rovell via Twitter)