28 Jan Remembering Kobe Bryant
My affinity for basketball began at a really young age, and has played, at the very least, a small role throughout the different stages of my life. From its central focus as a young tomboy to the temporary outlet it provides now as a high school principal and mother of five, basketball hasn’t only been a fun sport, but an opportunity to learn some solid and real life lessons.
I was busy checking work emails today and did not process at first my husband asking “Kobe Bryant died?!” I immediately googled “Kobe Bryant” and the news was already there. I took to What’s App to reach out to my friend (and basketball soul sister) Miriam in Toronto, when I was overwhelmed by the influx of messages from friends and colleagues (including Miriam) confirming what just happened and making sure I was okay. I guess everyone knows or just assumes that when you love basketball you love Kobe. It was true. Kobe died in a helicopter crash this morning in California, just a few hours after Lebron James surpassed him for 3rd most points in NBA history.
Kobe’s death is bigger than the game of basketball. It’s not just about five championships, two finals MVPs and one league MVP. It’s not just about 18 all star game appearances (18!) or that the Los Angeles Lakers retired not one, but two jersey numbers. It’s not just about scoring 81 points against the Raptors, or scoring 60 points in the final NBA game he ever played. It’s how he got there and what he stood for that leaves me both in shock and in awe at the same time.
Kobe Bryant worked harder than any other NBA player of his time. He took as much joy in scoring an astounding number of points as he did in defending the other team’s best player. It was his work ethic, tenacity and mental toughness that got him where he did, that lead him to accomplish what nobody else in his day could. While most “regular” human beings have off-days, for Kobe, there was no such thing. How many people can say they push harder and harder at work every single day, despite exhaustion, physical pain and, sometimes, controversy? While I may not seek to emulate all the life choices Kobe made, his resilience is something I will always remember.
More than anything, Kobe was a human being. He was a person who elevated himself to basketball greatness, simply by aspiring to always be better. He was a husband and a father who died taking his daughter to her basketball game. When you take away the yellow and purple, the trophies, banners, rings and accomplishments, what’s left is a man who pushed beyond what the rest of us would call normal limits. Today, as basketball fans everywhere are, quite simply, speechless, all I can do is think about this iconic figure who taught me the incredible value of hard work.
Thank you, Kobe.