Saying Goodbye to Kobe Bryant

A force larger than life and forever in our hearts…

I’ve been trying to gather my thoughts and feelings for nearly a week now and I fail every time. Last Sunday I was napping on the couch when my boyfriend’s mother called and asked did we hear about Kobe Bryant. Her being of another generation, I assumed she was getting the news on a traditional timeline and was speaking on his praises of Lebron as he beat Kobe’s scoring record the night before…I cracked a smile at the thought and at her and my boyfriend says “no mom, what?” She says “he died.”

I quickly sat up and grabbed my laptop to search “Kobe Bryant dead.” I only got three articles returned on my search and I didn’t believe a single one. The articles were only posted just three minutes before and they said he died in a helicopter crash and there was just no way that one of my idols, younger than my mother, with kids younger than my sisters, who had just settled every barbershop and pre-game argument the night before- was dead.

I called my own mother immediately and subconsciously to tell her the news. I said it out loud and she couldn’t believe it either. I said it out loud and my boyfriend began to sob. I said it out loud and tears rolled down my face even though I still didn’t believe he was dead.

What followed was the same 12 hours for nearly everyone around the world, we turned on ESPN and Sports Center. We stayed glued to CNN and our Twitter timelines, and received calls and texts from friends and family members also in disbelief and utter sadness. The news came that his sweet and feisty 13 year old daughter GiGi was on the helicopter with him, then later that there were even more victims. I was horrified.

I never played ball a day in my life but I grew up mesmerized by Kobe Bryant’s attitude and confidence. I fell in love with the Lakers franchise because of him and remained a loyal fan throughout the years. I took inspiration from his distinct focus and determination to be the best at everything he did.

Last Sunday it became crystal clear the similar impact that he had on so many people throughout the world, particularly in my generation. He was our Michael Jordan. Going into the league as we were kids and remaining into our adulthood. Because of this, so much of his morbidity is tied to our own and that’s one of the hardest parts to accept. Kobe Bryant was larger than life on and off the court. He lived out loud and without regret, constantly pushing forward agendas that served him and others.

As we sort ourselves out and work through the grief we’re facing, we begin to see the light. The light that comes in the form of a new day, the light in the lessons we learned from the way he lived, the light in being here and now. In true idol fashion, Kobe just saw the light a few steps ahead of the rest of us.

My prayers and my heart go out to the Bryant family and the families of all of the other victims.

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