Life After the Death of Kobe Bryant
A week has passed since the death of Kobe Bryant and it’s become clear that the NBA will never be the same.
Players, coaches and media members across the league mourned any way they could. Some teams wore No. 8 or 24 in their first game after his passing. Wakes were conducted on television by current and former players and peers of Kobe. The city of Los Angeles became a memorial.
A week has passed since the death of Kobe Bryant, and we have all felt mortal.
We’ve held our loved ones tighter. We’ve talked about mending bridges that were once burnt. We’ve all feared losing someone and having regrets about what may have been left unsaid.
This reaction came to be not just from the death of a basketball player, but from the death of a father robbed of the role.
Kobe had four daughters, Natalia, Bianka, Capri and Gianna. He was a proud father of all those girls, and he had most recently begun to share his deep love of the game of basketball with Gianna.
Kobe hadn’t been going to Laker’s games since his retirement until his daughter Gianna showed an interest in it. She wanted to go to the University of Connecticut to play for Geno Auriemma. She wanted to go on to play for the WNBA and carry on her father’s legacy.
The crushing reality is that her story, and the stories of the other children on that helicopter, will be left untold.
I’ve never had a death of a public figure affect me like this. Michael Jackson, Prince, David Bowie—none of them left me with this feeling. It’s like I lost a member of my family.
I’ve followed the NBA closely for more than 10 years now, and Kobe commanded the attention of fans like me for most of that time. Kobe felt untouchable. Invincible.
When I saw the initial TMZ report, I didn’t think it was real. I waited and waited for a follow up story about how there was a misunderstanding. This couldn’t happen to Kobe Bryant, right?
Instead, the stories confirmed the worst, and I was left with the lasting image of Kobe holding his daughter Gianna as the helicopter crashed. As this unforgiving world took them far too soon.
I’ve listened to countless podcasts about what happened last week. I’ve read countless stories, just trying to process where we are now. I can’t shake the feeling of being afraid. I always have told myself, out of my own weakness, that death will be expected, and I’ll be ready for it.
Now I find myself reaching out to my loved ones with a level of uncertainty. Will this be the last time I talk to them?
So, I act on that and cherish every moment, every conversation I have with them. There’s no time to wait, because life can be taken from us at any moment.
As tragic as this week has been, I hope the world can take something from it.
Let your loved ones know that they are loved. Let petty things go between you and an old friend. Know that we are at the mercy of whatever the universe decides, and we need to live like our time is running out.