Days before the Yankees permanently retire his jersey, Derek Jeter is paying tribute to New York City with an emotional letter reflecting on his ascendance from a childhood in Michigan to the upper echelon of sports legend.
Jeter posted an essay titled "Thank You, New York" on his Players' Tribune website on Thursday. Jeter writes about being "quiet, unsure and a little intimidated" coming to New York after growing up in Kalamazoo, Michigan.
"A lot was asked of that kid. And I always respected the challenge to prove myself each and every day," Jeter wrote. "The lights were always bright. The pace was always fast. The stakes were always high, and the expectations higher. And in those difficult moments — those moments that feel unique to New York — you always showed me a sign."
The sports icon praised the city for supporting him throughout his 20 seasons with the Yankees writing, "I'll never forget how you looked out for me."
"I wasn’t born a New Yorker — you asked me to earn it. I wasn’t born a Yankee, but you made me into one," Jeter wrote. "Everyone comes to this city with dreams of being No. 1. You showed me that being No. 2 was more than enough."
The piece is accompanied by a video in which Jeter and other New Yorkers recite the essay.
The Yankees will retire Jeter's No. 2 on Sunday night at Yankee Stadium ahead of their game against the Houston Astros. The 14-time All-Star shortstop helped lead New York to five World Series titles.