Today started like any other day. Woke up, fed my 18 month old daughter breakfast, and started getting ready to go to the beach. Had my phone on me but I didn’t look at it. After I loaded her up in the car I got a ping saying Kobe Bryant was killed in a helicopter crash. “Pssh, yeah right,” I scoffed. This is Kobe Bryant. He’s indestructible. Has to be another internet hoax. Then, unfortunately, I saw the source. TMZ. Love or hate TMZ, they’re usually right on the money.
I drove home feeling awful. This death hit me pretty hard. I’m 39 years old and a huge life long sports fan. I’m old enough to remember Bryant donning the Charlotte Hornets hat for a brief second before he started his Lakers journey. I’m a Nuggets fan. My team never mattered enough to form any lasting rivalries with Bryant. One year they met in the Western Conference Finals for a few uneventful games, but that was it. But, I saw him go up against Michael Jordan, Tracy McGrady, Rip Hamilton, Allen Iverson. Love him or hate him (non-Laker fans hated him), he was a pro’s pro.
I really started to gain more respect for him once his playing days wrapped up. He was a joy to watch talk about basketball, family and life. He owned up to his past transgressions, and strove to be the best father he could be to a boatload of daughters. As a new father myself, I took more than a few lessons from his demonstrations.
To find out that his oldest daughter, who he was taking to a basketball camp, something I am sure brought him tremendous joy, was on the aircraft with him; it broke my heart. After reading that I had to grab my daughter and hold her tight. She squealed and wiggled; she just wanted to play with her little basketball. It struck me in a way I never thought I could feel before the date of July 11, 2018. Bryant was there when Gianna took her first breath, and he was there when she took her last.
There’s nothing more I want to say. This one hurts. We are all sports fans, and I know this one hurts all of us. I wanted to do a tiny little something, so I updated the layout of my site to honor #24. It’s all I could do.
I’m an Atheist, but I am sure whatever is next for Kobe Bryant, he will put his all into it and slay the hell out of it. Rest in Peace Black Mamba.