On Sunday, January 26, 2020, the world received shocking news that made it stand still. Reports that NBA All-Star and legend Kobe Bryant, his 13-year-old daughter Gianna, and seven others were killed in a helicopter crash flooded the news, social media, and radio stations, and stunned the nation and the world. Such an unforeseen and rare event left millions of men, women, and children heartbroken, as the world had lost one of its giants. Today, I choose to honor them.
First and foremost, I would like to start by acknowledging ALL the lives that were lost in this tragic accident. Though the world mourns for Kobe and his daughter, we must remember and pay respects to the other seven souls that were lost, and the importance of their lives to their friends, colleagues, and family. Let us say their names:
John Altobelli. Keri Altobelli. Alyssa Altobelli. Christina Mauser. Sarah Chester. Payton Chester. Ara Zobayan. May they rest in peace and their loved ones find comfort in this incredibly painful time now and forever.
Kobe Bryant, aka “Black Mamba”, was more than just a basketball star. He was a husband, a father, a brother, a friend, an inspiration, a mentor, a legend, a hero, and so much more. He was a family man and a man of the people. A man that used his many skills and talents both on and off the court all for the sake of helping others and doing what he loved. At a young age, Bryant made a name for himself and went on to build a legacy. I don’t have to list all of his accomplishments for anyone to know just how great of a man he was… it’s all in his name.
I was never much of a hardcore basketball fan, or a fan of any sport for that matter. However, it was because of Kobe Bryant why I ever took interest in the sport at all. In fact, the Los Angeles Lakers had always been my favorite team, and he had always been my favorite player. I may not have known or understood all the stats of basketball, the Lakers, or Kobe’s career, but I knew how much he loved the game and how dynamic of a player he was, and that was enough for me. I was even a part of the generation that yelled “Kobe!” after trying to throw something into the trash can. The disbelief and emptiness I felt upon hearing the news was surreal. I never thought I’d hear such news in my lifetime… at least not anytime soon. There will never be another Kobe Bryant.
Despite his fame and many successes, Kobe’s greatest treasures were his wife and 4 daughters. He always went out of his way to include them into his busy professional life and made time for them in everything that he did. His pride and joy were his family, not his many accolades. His wife supported him, his children admired him, and he was without a doubt, loved. It is impossible to imagine to grief that now sits with the Bryant family, having lost their beloved husband/father and daughter/sister.
Before I conclude, there is a pressing matter that must be discussed, and that is the disgusting and hurried way that the media and reporters handled and spread information about the accident and those on board. When the news of the accident and Kobe’s death became public, rather than awaiting confirmations, several media business and reporters took to social media, racing to release the “scoop” first, and spreading false information while doing so. Assumptions that former Laker and actor, Rick Fox, as well as more of Kobe’s daughters, were on the plane spread like wildfire, causing more confusion and heartbreak amongst the public. Media enterprises TMZ and The Shade Room also released the news of Kobe and Gianna’s passing to the internet before the Bryant family even received news of it. Behaviors like these are unacceptable, unprofessional, and should be penalized by immediate removal.
Kobe and Gianna Bryant were two amazing and wonderful people. Even their bond as father and daughter was unlike any other and a beautiful thing to behold. Gianna, who aimed to be just like her father, stated that Kobe didn’t need to have a son in order for his legacy to continue. It was her dream to do just that, all while receiving coaching from her very own father. The world lost a legendary giant and a giant in the making. Both were taken entirely too soon. Kobe and Gianna, you will be greatly missed. May the Bryant family find peace and comfort in this dark and unbearable time.
Long live Black Mamba and Mambacita.
The lesson I cherish the most is how important it is to love what you do. If you love what you do and it’s making you happy, all the hard work and perseverance will pay off… I encourage you to always be curious, always seek out things you love, and always work hard once you find it.Kobe Bryant
(I do not own the rights to this photo.)