Reflections of Kobe

Reflections of Kobe
February 07
09:08 2020

On Jan. 26, the world lost one of the greatest athletes to ever grace the planet. Kobe Bean Bryant, along with eight other individuals, lost their lives in a tragic helicopter accident in Calabasas, California.

Bryant, along with his daughter Gianna and seven others, were on their way to basketball practice when the helicopter went down. The outpouring of emotions since this tragedy has been inspiring, to say the least.

I knew that Kobe was a basketball legend and revered by many, but I didn’t really understand how much he had become a cultural icon. People of all ages, races and economic backgrounds showed their love for a man most of them have never met or even seen in person.  

As I thought about the tragic events of that day, the thing that hit me the hardest was not that we lost one of the best basketball players the world has ever seen, but more to what was going through Bryant’s mind as the helicopter was going down.  

As a father, I could not imagine being in a situation where death was imminent and attempting to console your child. It goes without saying that that had to be the toughest moment in his life. Looking into the eyes of your child at that moment had to be gut wrenching. Fathers are supposed to be the protectors of their children, and to know that there was nothing he could do in that situation had to be the worst feeling in the world.

Bryant was unlike many other superstar players following retirement. He easily transitioned out of basketball and into his own lane that involved filmmaking and media. Who knows what else Kobe had in store for his post-basketball career. He seemed to be on his way to building an enterprise to match or surpass that of the likes of Michael Jordan or Magic Johnson. I could have seen Bryant being a coach or even owner of a franchise in the next 20 years. It’s sad that the world will never know into what his brand could have fully developed.

When I first heard the news of his passing, memories of Bryant began to cross my mind. I thought back to the day he was drafted by the Charlotte Hornets and traded to the Lakers for Vlade Divac. That still stands as one of the greatest draft day robberies of all time.  

I fondly remember his first season and how he transitioned into the best basketball player in the world. I never saw that coming when he was shooting air balls in the playoffs against the Utah Jazz. I thought he was trying to be Jordan so badly, but never thought he would be the player that would closely emulate the G.O.A.T. Bryant’s work ethic is legendary and will go down as one of the most dedicated athletes of all time.

I also thought of the alley-oop to Shaq in the playoffs, the battle with Allen Iverson in the Finals, the slam dunk championship, his 81-point game against the Raptors and many more. I even had to smile when I thought about the times I shot a paper ball into the trashcan yelling “Kobe” like millions of other fans have also done.  

The way Bryant’s life has been celebrated by the NBA and the players has been fantastic. The 24-second shot clock violations, the 8-second violations, the heartfelt stories shared by his peers, the personal tributes and the changes to the NBA All-Star game have all been great gestures to honor such a legend.  

The thing I did not like seeing were the negative posts and comments I saw on social media. I saw several posts about the Colorado alleged rape incident. That crap almost made me sick to my stomach. None of us were there, so to make derogatory comments about him following his death shows how sick some people can be.  

But I choose not to focus on the negative, but instead keep the good memories in my mind. I suggest that all his true fans do the same. Bryant’s memory will live on forever, mostly because I can’t remember an all-time great of any sport being gone so early. 

I will continue to pray for his family and the families of the other victims of the crash.  

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Timothy Ramsey

Timothy Ramsey

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