January 27th, 2020
This morning I woke up hoping the shocking news of Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna, and 7 others tragically dying yesterday in a helicopter crash in California was all a terrible nightmare. I was hoping that the millions of social media posts, news reports, and outpouring of shock and sadness all over the World was all just a dream of something that couldn't have possibly happened. I'm still in shock and disbelief...it just doesn't seem real. I haven't written a Blog post since March, 2017 and was considering deleting this part of my website (or deleting my website completely)...but this event has moved me to write this post.
Kobe Bryant and I were born 8 days apart, in the 8th month, of 1978. Kobe Bryant was someone I felt like I grew up with as a fellow player, a basketball lover, and someone I looked up to and loved as an incredible basketball player and as an equally incredible human being. My first year of University at UPEI, our team shoes were the Adidas KB8's, and the Black Mamba was my favourite player throughout his career. What I learned yesterday was that there were so many more people all over the World that loved Kobe as much as I did. There were reports from News agencies all over the planet, there were fans crying in China, Europe, Africa, and every corner of the globe, and every social media post I saw yesterday were heartfelt and passionate tributes to Kobe, his daughter, and those that lost their lives so tragically yesterday. I learned the news yesterday when I got a message from my brother-in-law from Halifax while I was standing in line at Costco. At first I thought it was a hoax and there was no chance it could be real, so I immediately went on to Twitter and saw the shocking reality of what had taken place. It was one of those moments that I will remember for the rest of my life, and I'll be totally honest that I was moved to tears while eating lunch with my family and am still emotional over his tragic loss. I never got the opportunity to meet Kobe Bryant, but I felt like I lost a close friend and someone that I loved...and from everything I have seen since then, there are millions of others who feel the same way. I don't remember anyone else's death who has caused this type of Global shock and sadness for many, many years, and I felt the need to write more than a social media post about this tragic event.
Kobe's loss, the loss of his daughter Gianna, and the loss of the 7 others in Calabasas, California yesterday, has touched so many people not only because of what he did as a basketball player, but also because of the man that he was, and the way he touched people's lives and their hearts. The word I think of when I think of Kobe is RELENTLESS!! Kobe was maybe the most relentless competitor in NBA history and one of the most relentless competitors in any sport's history, but he was also relentless in his work ethic, his passion for the game, his individuality, and relentless as a father to his four daughters, Gianna, Natalia, Bianka, and Capri. He had also become relentless in his passions post-basketball as a mentor to younger players, as a coach, as a leader, and as a man who was trying to make a positive impact in peoples' lives! Kobe was a decorated Champion as a Los Angeles Laker, and millions of people and players idolized him and worked tirelessly on copying his fadeaway jumper and his moves on the court, but we all loved him also because of the passion he played with and the way he wore his heart on his sleeve. He taught us as young men that it is OK to be vulnerable and to be unique...that not everyone has to be a stereotype as a black man, and it is also cool to be cultured, educated, and Worldly. And as he got older, he also became a role-model as a father and the love and passion he poured into his daughters and his family. You could see that love and passion with every picture and every time he spoke about his daughters, and especially his beloved Gianna. The fact that he passed away with her, travelling to one of her games makes it all so much more heartbreaking. My heart breaks for his wife Vanessa, his beautiful daughters, the Bryant family, the families of the individuals lost in the tragic crash, the NBA family, and for the people all over the World that Kobe inspired and touched. The tributes to him will continue, and will continue to move and touch us, and the impact he made with the way he lived his life will live on forever. Goodbye old friend, I'll miss you, I love you, and I thank you for everything you did to inspire me and so many others to be better and to work harder in all aspects of life. #RIPKobe #BlackMamba #GOAT