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As the legendary career of Kobe Bryant comes to an end tonight, the internet will be well-stocked with tributes. The best one, however, might have dropped before his final game even starts.
Kobe teamed up with Nike for what begins like countless other basketball commercials—the Lakers are down one, playing an away game in a hostile environment. Kobe has the ball with a few seconds remaining. He lets off a turnaround jumper (quick cut to his fresh pair of Nikes), which falls in just as time expires. The arena explodes in anger and frustration, and fans start a “Kobe sucks” chant.
That’s when things take a turn. The lights shut off and Kobe becomes a conductor, cueing in
fans haters for a modified rendition of Otis Redding’s classic “I’ve Been Loving You Too Long,” “I’ve Been Hating You Too Long.” Everyone from Paul Pierce to Phil Jackson chimes in—and if that’s Phil’s real baritone, somebody sign that man.
Watch the commercial above, and revisit Kobe’s own musical history below.