January 26th 2020 will go down as a day that everyone will remember where they were and what they were doing. I don't think I will ever forget what I was doing. I had just gotten off work and decided I wanted to play some Call of Duty to relax. 15 minutes into playing one of the guys I play with says, "Did you hear Kobe died?" He said it in this way that came off as utter disbelief. My response was "Kobe Bryant?" I was in denial. I think this was everyone's reaction. It's one of those things you refuse to believe. Kobe Bryant was a legend, he was untouchable. Am I actually talking about Kobe in past tense? It really shows a person that this life is too damn short and every day, we are given the precious gift of life. Don't hold grudges on people you love, your friends, or even your enemies, because, what is the damn point? Jay Williams said it best, "Let that shit go."
I wanted to get on and write about it ASAP but I needed to digest this. This may be the first time in my life that I have cried about someone I did not know or ever meet. Think about that. Millions of people had never met this man and he will leave a lasting impact on them. I was on Twitter all day yesterday refreshing the timeline as often as I could. I wanted to see every tweet and video there was honoring Kobe Bryant. The outpouring of love for this man was amazing to see. He made a real impact on the world. From the 24 second shot clock violations to Andrew Wiggins placing the ball on the spot where Kobe past Michael Jordan on the scoring list, it is all really something to witness. Kobe, you were loved.
Kobe was the epitome of hard work, determination, sacrifice, and grit. He found something that he absolutely loved and gave it his all. For 20 years he gave everything he had to the Lakers, the NBA, and the game of basketball. I could go on and on about the career Kobe had in the NBA but I'm not because we all know his story. I happened to re-watch some of Kobe's last game tonight because ESPN aired it in honor of him. Yes, he went off for 60 points to cap one of the most accomplished careers ever in any sport. There was something I noticed this time that I hadn't noticed when I watched that game back in 2016. During the pregame the Staples Center was honoring Kobe and there was a video of his teammates and opponents throughout his career, reminiscing about their memories of Kobe. There was a camera panned on Kobe and the whole time he had a smile from ear to ear. He was a happy man.
Kobe was someone who gave it his all on and off the court. I did not know much about him as a parent until after the news broke yesterday. He loved his 4 daughters and his wife endlessly. You know why he started taking a helicopter to practice and back home? It was because he wanted to be their for his family when he could be. He would workout, bring his daughters to school, fly to practice, fly back, and pick his daughters up from school. Kobe knew how important it was to be there for his family. He not only taught us how to be on the court but he taught us how to be a husband and a father. It is impossible to know exactly what was happening in those final minutes in that helicopter, but, we should all take comfort in knowing Kobe was being the father he had always been to Gianna.
Lastly, Kobe was not the only person to have lost their life in that helicopter. 8 other people lost their life. Pray for the families of all of those who perished.