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Lakers-Sixers Preview: Dear Liberty Ballers

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In honor of Kobe Bryant announcing his retirement in verse, it's only fitting that tonight's Lakers-Sixers game gets previewed in verse as well.

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Dear Liberty Ballers,

From the moment
I heard stories of Joe Bryant in Philly
And hanging out with
The neighborhood kids
In suburban Philadelphia
I knew one thing for sure:

The Lakers would always be a rival.

A rivalry born out of Kobe's local ties -
And breaking them with his
Words & basketball play.

As an eleven-year old boy
Deeply in love with sports
I saw Allen Iverson step over Tyronn Lue.
I only saw the win.
I never anticipated four straight losses.

And so I cried.
I cried for another lost opportunity
After the 2000 NHL Eastern Conference Finals.
You asked for my support
I gave you my fandom
Because it came with so much more.

Things have gone up and down since then.
While the Lakers went up
The Sixers went down.
The Lakers won championships.
The Sixers won Evan Turner.
The years of Sixers mediocrity took a toll
Making Lakers championships all the more painful.

And now both teams are in different phases.
After nearly 20 years of Kobe
The Lakers are trying to figure out how to move on.
But the Sixers have the Lakers' 2016 1st Round Pick.
Protected 1-3, the Lakers need to lose
To increase their own odds of keeping it.
And tonight each team benefits more from losing.

And that's OK
Rebuilding is a process.
Nick Young can't be forever
So both teams should savor every moment of this season.
The Lakers for the end
And the Sixers for the start
Of an era.

And we both know, no matter what happens next
We will remember tonight
When an 0-18 team plays a 2-16 team.
Those who watch will laugh.
But as Kobe's career ends
Jahlil Okafor's begins.
1...2...3...4...5...Sixers.

Come tonight for the Process
Stay for Kobe and Swaggy.