Kobe Bryant, Gianna Bryant

USA TODAY Sports

Scoot: Kobe Bryant - When legends die…

Scoot
January 27, 2020 - 11:10 am
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Reaction to the sudden death of NBA legend Kobe Bryant bespeaks a popularity that transcended basketball. One of the most common descriptions of the reaction to the death of Kobe Bryant was “unbelievable.” The word, unbelievable, appropriately depicts the collective reluctance to accept the reality that Kobe Bryant is gone.

The statistics and the records that designate Kobe Bryant as one of the best in NBA history are indisputable, and I will leave the litany of statistical praise for the sports experts. But the death of Kobe Bryant reaches well beyond the world of sports.

The news of Kobe Bryant’s death dominated the cable news networks at a time when the top story would have been the continuing impeachment trial of President Trump. Without hesitation, Fox News, CNN and MSNBC went to wall-to-wall coverage of the helicopter crash that claimed the lives of Kobe Bryant, his 13-year-old daughter and seven others. The news set social media on fire.

Kobe Bryant was one of the early players drafted by the NBA right out of high school, which created controversy. Many opposed drafting high school players into a professional league, arguing that it was rushing young athletes into adult roles; but it was hard to argue that players, like Kobe, were not ready for the NBA when they proved they could play at that level.

Since reports of his death yesterday, the world has learned that Kobe Bryant was dedicated to doing the work it takes to be great. It can be argued that his physical presence was not extraordinary - but his commitment to focus and striving to being the best was extraordinary.

Often in life people with great talent are not willing to make the commitment to be great. When an individual’s life represents a will to be great - it reminds us that the heart is the most important muscle in an athlete’s body.

Particularly, for the Los Angeles area and for the NBA, the loss of Kobe Bryant is painful; but even beyond that - the loss of this amazing individual touches us because of the person he was even after retiring from basketball.

To make the death of Kobe Bryant even more tragic is that fact that he died with his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna "Gigi" Bryant, whom Kobe was working diligently with on her basketball skills. The only consolation one can deem from that tragedy is the sense that they are still together.

There are missteps in the lives of every human - but how we choose to lead our lives after the missteps is what defines our legacy. By all accounts - Kobe Bryant was not only one of the best players in NBA history and an example of what it takes to be the best - but he was also a dedicated and loving father and husband.  His bond with his girls will forever be etched in our hearts and minds.

How we lead our lives matters. Even if you are not as famous as Kobe Bryant - how you choose to lead your life will define your legacy with your family, friends and co-workers. The stories and inside information about his life and his attitude that are being exposed in the wake of his tragic death remind us that striving to be the best in life is not lost.

How we lead our lives matters - and who we are in life does not die with our bodies.

R.I.P. Kobe and Gigi!

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