It’s not always easy to say goodbye, but after 20 years in purple and gold, Kobe Bryant is close to ending one chapter of his career. To honor Bryant’s imminent basketball retirement, Kendrick Lamar linked with ESPN on “Fade to Black,” a poignant 30 for 30 video tribute to the NBA legend.
In the three-minute short, which opens with a wide shot of Southern California’s Inglewood Forum, Lamar performs a spoken-word poem penned by ESPN’s Scoop Jackson. The Compton MC’s “Levitate” provides the musical soundtrack, as Black Mamba’s career highlights play throughout the video.
“Your blood, your sweet, your tears, even your DNA is placed in these L.A. concretes man, and nothing will ever replace that or erase that,” says Lamar. “Forever great in our hearts. So with that being said, know that it’s never goodbye, simply respect due. My dude, forever, Kobe.”
Bryant’s final NBA game is Wednesday (March 13), against the Utah Jazz. Check out Lamar’s tribute below.