Gary Vitti and Kobe Bryant
Head Athletic Trainer Gary Vitti walks with Kobe Bryant through the Oakland County International Airport in Waterford Township, Mich.
(Ty Nowell/

Kobe Pens Thanks to Gary Vitti

by Joey Ramirez
Digital Reporter

Fittingly, two of the Lakers' most legendary figures, Kobe Bryant and Gary Vitti, are heading out at the same time.

In his 20-year career — which ends with Wednesday's game against Utah — Bryant's health has always been under the watch of Vitti, who is also retiring after a 32-year career that included eight championships.

Whether it was food poisoning in Sacramento or an ankle injury in Indiana, Vitti has mended Bryant over and over for the past two decades. At the end of both men's tenure, Bryant showed his thanks for Vitti by autographing a photo of the two of them walking through Oakland County International Airport after a road game against Detroit on Dec. 2, 2014.

Bryant also left a message for his trainer: "To Gary, You are the best! Thank you for always having my back and showing me how to act like a pro! I love you and appreciate you more than you will ever know.”

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