Commentary: 4 things we can learn from Kobe’s life

Commentary: 4 things we can learn from Kobe’s life
January 30
10:14 2020

By Bridget Elam

It’s an unfortunate truth that a person’s life often speaks volumes after his or her death. That truth resounds even more with the untimely passing of Kobe Bryant.  

Bryant was killed in a helicopter crash on Sunday, Jan. 26. The news of his death and that of his young daughter sent shock waves around the world. Many celebrities and athletes chimed in on social media to offer their condolences and pay tribute to Bryant and his family. 

While I’m only a basketball fan to the extent that my son has dedicated half his life to the game, I am, by no means, a stranger to Kobe Bryant, the basketball player. However, since his death, I have been introduced to Kobe, the man. His contributions can teach us valuable lessons about living life to the fullest.

Here are four areas in which Bryant excelled and consequently became the reasons for his success.

1. Discipline: Kobe Bryant was drafted 13th overall in the 1996 NBA Draft, being drafted right out of high school. It is reported that he would put up 1,000 shots per day, regardless of what kind of day it was. That is discipline. If you commit to that level of discipline in your respected area(s) of expertise or passion, how much further along would you be? 

2. Commitment to family: Bryant had four daughters with his wife Vanessa. Even during his hectic professional schedule, he made time to attend his children’s school and extra curriculum activities. In an interview, he recalled how he would play a game, fly home to attend a birthday or event, and then fly back to the team.  By doing so, his family members felt loved and valued. In what instances should you make your family a priority?

3. Charity: Bryant supported several charities. There is the Kobe and Vanessa Bryant Family Foundation whose goal is to provide scholarships. Then there’s the After-School All-Stars, that partners with schools to extend school hours for low-income children. Kobe also supported the Make-A-Wish Foundation by granting more than 250 wishes. You may say that Bryant had enough money to be philanthropic; how can I give on that level? In reality, charity is not as big of a feat as we may think. Time is just as valuable to give as money. What worthy cause can you give your time, talent and treasure?

4. Inspiration: Bryant inspired so many by his discipline, commitment to family, and philanthropy. Just check out social media to see examples. If all we do is satisfy ourselves and our own desires, have we really done anything at all? As we walk this brief phase called life, we should do so in a way that those around us are inspired by our actions. 

Was Kobe perfect? No, none of us are. But there are snapshots from his short life from which we can glean the principles he lived by and be inspired to be better people. Paying attention to his life can change the trajectory of our own lives while we are still able. 

Thank you, Kobe Bryant, the basketball player. But more importantly, we honor Kobe, the man, for his contributions to the sport of basketball and to our society. May you rest in peace. 

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