MONTREAL – I woke this morning wishing that yesterday was just a nightmare, wishing it was still Saturday January 25th when LeBron surpassed Kobe’s record, wishing Kobe and Gianna, Sarah Chester and her daughter Payton, John, Keri and Alyssa Altobelli, and coach Christina Mauser and Ara Zobayan were enjoying their Saturday.
Instead, Sunday was the worst nightmare for their families, friends, classmates, teammates and the rest of us that are grieving.
Witnessing Kobe being so supportive of girls in sport, his undeniable storytelling talent that he used to capture our imaginations with his books and his animated short films gave me a new perspective on him as a man, an artist and as an father.
The hardest part, like Michael Strahan said on Good Morning America this morning, is that we are missing something we will never get back. Until the end, those parents were supporting the dreams of their girls.
With the years following his retirement, I saw Kobe from a different perspective compared to the cranky anti-Lakers fans of my teens and twenties. His competitive spirit enraged me at times, but secretly, I discovered I was as competitive as he was. I started to embrace this aspect of my personality and understanding Kobe more in that regard. Damn, the guy was such a beast on the court!
I discovered a man that I could have fun conversations with, from The Simpsons to women in sports. Kobe was a guy with a lot of different interests, in different areas. He was not just basketball. He was so approachable.
I am still amazed by his work ethic.
I discovered a very proud father that would do anything for his daughters. He worshipped hard work and dedication from his girls.
I discovered a man, with the ups and downs of marriage, who loved his wife, his best friend, with all his heart.
I discovered someone, despite being a public figure, who was keeping real. He was only human after all.
Speaking of keeping it real, Kobe was the embodiment a real-life Bruce Wayne (Batman). He was a super hero on the court, he did some unbelievable things. He was also a super hero outside of the court. It takes courage to face adversity, to face mistakes we wished we hadn’t made and to go forward trying to be the best version of ourselves. Kobe was walking the walk until the end.
Maybe what am I writing doesn’t seem to make any sense because this tragedy doesn’t make sense at all.
But one thing that does make sense is the love.
They all loved one another.
They all loved the game and believed in it until the very end.
I have trouble writing right now, but I’m sure the legacy of Kobe, Gianna, Sarah, Payton, John, Keri, Alyssa, Christina and Ara will live on forever.
Thank you Kobe! One day, we will share our stories while shooting hoops. Just be gentle, I was never a good basketball player, but if we played soccer, watch out.
In the end, Kobe was all of us.
Kobe Bryant did everything early. He arrive early.
He got in the NBA, early.
He got married, early.
He was a father, early.
He was a prodigy, early
He was a media mogul, early.
He left us… Early.
From Jalen Rose