LOS ANGELES, CA - The recent retirement of Laker great Kobe Bryant has left thousands of his worshipers desperate to find a new deity, sources reported Tuesday.
"I feel spiritually homeless, like I'm living under a spiritual bridge in a spiritual cardboard box," teary-eyed Lakers fan Jeff Goins admitted to reporters. "I converted to Kobeism after his first championship in 2000, and I don't remember anything else. Can you help me?"
L.A. churches are said to be inundated with frantic, lost Kobeites. "They're pretty easy to spot," noted local pastor Donald Berenstein. "They're wearing purple and gold and generally have no idea how to conduct themselves. On Sunday, when I said my sermon was going to be three points, all the Kobeites cheered."
Berenstein is optimistic about the influx of confused fans. "These people are highly experienced at congregating at a house of worship and directing all their innermost affections at a divine figure. Kobe's retirement creates a vacuum that I think churches can capitalize on."
Wandering Kobeite Jody Ricks isn't so sure. "It's hard to transition to another deity. Jesus died on the cross 'once for all,' but Kobe won five championships. Jesus is the Lion of Judah, but Kobe is the Black Mamba. Plus, Jesus ate the Passover right before he died - and Kobe hates any kind of passing. I just don't know if Christianity is going to be right for me."