Kobe Bryant ended his NBA career as one of the league’s most beloved players, posting incredible performances over the years, showing that as long as you work hard for what you want, you’ll always get it. During his 20 years in the league, Bryant became a force, had to reinvent himself, was patient and waited for the right moment to attack and win, becoming a five-time NBA champion.

It wasn’t an easy trip, but Kobe never shunned the routine. In fact, he kissed her and constantly wanted to prove to himself that he was capable of doing a lot of things. During this process, he found a lot of inspiration, especially in NBA stars who did what he wanted to do once he arrived in the association.

Somehow, Kobe was close to them as his dad tried to make sure the Little Mamba had autographs from league players. During an old interview, Kobe reminisced about the first pair of autographed sneakers he received, mentioning a few interesting names.

Journalist: “Do you remember the first autograph or the first pair of signed sneakers you received at that age?”

Kobe: “What did I get? My dad even got me an autograph from Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, Horace Grant, Penny Hardaway…Shaquille O’Neal.”

Journalist: “Do you still have them?”

Kobe: “I’m sure I have them somewhere. Funny, though? Shaq was really nice to me. I actually met him when I was 15. He was really nice to me. Penny not so much. I kind of carried that with me for the rest of my career.”

Knowing how Kobe was, he probably took it personally and tried to get revenge on the court every time he faced Penny. He had a tumultuous relationship with Shaq despite being one of the best duos in NBA history, following a storyline that began when Kobe was a teenager.

The Black Mamba knew what others were doing for him, and he never shied away from making his fans feel appreciated. He almost never missed a game and constantly joked with the little kids, trying to cheer them up. Kobe was a star who loved to see those who supported him happy, and until his last day on earth, he never stopped doing that.