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The World Mourns

January 28, 2020

On Sunday afternoon Kobe Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna along with seven others were killed in a helicopter crash near Los Angeles. They were on their way to Gianna’s basketball game for a team that Kobe coached. The basketball world lost a legend, one of the greatest to ever play in the NBA. Interestingly, people around the world, even those who knew nothing about basketball, mourned Kobe’s death. Such was the impact he had on the world beyond basketball.

I’ve been a lifelong Sixers fan so I naturally ‘hated’ Kobe just as other fans of opposing teams did. But had he ever come to play for his hometown team, I would have loved him. That’s how fans are, rather fickle. Nonetheless, I always respected his talent and recognized his commitment to getting better every off-season. The man had an incredible work ethic to improve his game and was highly competitive; he was a player who hated to lose.

But beyond basketball, many did not know the deep devotion he had to his family. Since retiring from basketball in 2016, he wrote children’s books, became a quiet philanthropist, and even won an Oscar. His dedication to making the word better had begun and now that energy has been snuffed out.

My heart goes out to his widowed wife Vanessa and her other three children. They had a baby in June 2019, a daughter who will grow up never knowing her dad. The grief that this family is experiencing is incomprehensible given that the mother lost a child and a husband, and their children lost a sister and a father; there really is no way to describe it unless one has been there themselves. The family will need a lot of support from other family members and close friends. It will be unimaginably painful. Grief is something that every person experiences in their own way, and there is no one way to grieve. There is also no timetable on how long the grieving process takes, in fact, the pain never goes away completely, but just gets easier to deal with over time. The world mourns a superior athlete but the family will miss a husband and dad who was still in the prime of his life. RIP # 8 and 24.