If you were a fan of basketball in the late 90's and 2000's you've probably heard it or did it.
Whether it was a a crumpled up piece of paper, an empty water bottle, or any kind of wrapper we have all done it or heard it.
One would take a jab step to the right, fade back, shoot whatever was in their hands towards the trash or recycling and say his name....KOBE!
That was all you had to say as the object was flying towards the trash and everyone around you whether in a cafeteria, classroom, or kitchen would know who you were talking about because his shot was one of the smoothest, and his swagger was one of the most recognizable.
Kobe Bryant was one of the best basketball players to ever play the game. His athleticism and speed when driving to the hoop, his creativity in the post, his can't miss fade away was what made him so fun to watch on the court, but he was also great to watch off the court too. After scoring the fourth most points in the game of basketball, winning 5 championships, an MVP, and making 18 all star games, he was starting to shine off the court as well.
Kobe was entering the next chapter of his life as a producer, writer, and investor. He was achieving great success in his next chapter maybe even more so than his first chapter, which I think makes this tragic event so sad. Kobe had recently one an Oscar for his short film "Dear Basketball" he was the coach of his oldest daughters basketball team and passing on his legacy to her. THAT to me is what makes his death so sad. Kobe was a man who every one thought would be immoral, a man who would be on the sidelines of basketball games dissecting defensive setups with his daughters for 50 more years.
When I first head that he had passed I denied it HARD. I did the most journalistic thing I could and verified the news with three to four sources and they all said the same thing, that he had died in a helicopter crash, and more tragically with his 13 year old daughter.
A man that was so larger than life and his daughter Gianna are gone.
When a man like Kobe, a man who is seen as a godly figure in the game of basketball dies it hits the heart strings harder. A man who developed a mentality of working hard for your success. That hope is not a plan, you need to work for any goal you have is gone. It makes the common man reflect a little deeper, that tomorrow quite literally is promised to no one...not even Kobe Bryant. Not even a man who had reached the peak of success for a professional basketball player, becoming a champion fives times over, making millions of dollars, becoming a proud father... not even him.
I never met Kobe, and obviously I wasn't close with him, but I am a basketball fan and even though I would root hard for the Celtics being a Massachusetts guy I still loved and respected Kobe's game. Of course I would get mad at him when he would hit fade away after fade away in the Celtics mouths and beating us in the Finals, but the guy had GAME. More importantly though he was a father and husband, and a good one at that.
Family is larger than basketball, family was number one for Kobe in his second chapter and I respected that a lot about him. Yes, he passed away with Gianna, but what gives me some peace of mind about it is that I know they are playing one on one in heaven, developing their game, and still trying to get better.
As I said earlier, tomorrow is promised to no one. Say I love you to your family and loved ones every day. Make sure they know and feel it when you see them, because you never know when it is going to be the last time. Deaths like these also make you realize how precious life is.
You only get one life, only one so make the most of it. Chase whatever dream is yours, never sweat small stresses, eat good food, call your parents, lift your head off your phone, laugh everyday, cry when you need to, work hard, and have fun...
Because you never know when it is going to be gone.