Kobe's final season has truly been a farewell tour. Not only has he received gifts, video tributes, warmth, and respect, Kobe has been giving gifts too. He's been giving away his personal (includes unrelease colorways) to his opponents with autographs and messages. The list includes:
With Kobe playing for such a long period, a lot of younger players idolized Kobe growing up.
Tony Allen probably did not. Kobe Bryant and Allen are completely different. Outside of the fact that both are NBA players with NBA championships, they couldn't be further apart. One player has won five rings for the Los Angeles Lakers, the other, one for the Boston Celtics. Kobe is known for his offensive prowess, Allen is known for his defensive intensity.
Allen has played and rivaled Kobe since he was drafted in 2004 by the Boston Celtics. The two didn't play in the latest matchup between the Lakers and Memphis Grizzlies but Kobe made sure to get the shoes into Allen's possession. The message is nothing but a sign of respect. The right bares the inscription "To Tony, the best defender I ever faced!"
The Black Mamba has always been known for his work ethic and shows respect whenever it is earned. Defense is often the nitty gritty and under-appreciated side of basketball. A basketball mind like Kobe respects all forms of the game and in his final season, isn't afraid to admit it.