My heart hurts like the hearts of millions all over the world. I have written 24 and 8 on my kicks, my initial response to hearing the devastating news of the death of Kobe Bryant yesterday in a helicopter crash along with his talented, athletic thirteen-year-old daughter Gianna.
Although seeing him play throughout his career was magical, what filled me with delight was watching this 6’ 6” basketball playing genius evolve into a giant of a human being.
Yes, he was arrogant, some say selfish, made mistakes dealing with life’s temptations and challenges, but what I found so inspiring about Kobe Bryant is how he grew; working as hard as he had for over two decades on basketball, on becoming the best person he could be.
A, 5-time NBA champion, 2-time NBA Finals MVP, 18-time NBA All-Star, there are simply too many accolades to list here. He even won an Oscar for his beautiful animated film, a love story he wrote to the sport he dominated, basketball.
Kobe Bryant stood for so much that made him a human giant. He loved his and other people’s children; guided them, supported and inspired them. Through the Kobe and Vanessa Bryant Family Foundation, he helped children and families across the world with funding and the development of cultural and community programs. He assisted US veterans regain dignity and a livelihood, by partnering with others and raising funds to help them find work.
He represented the essence of an unwavering work ethic, reminding everyone constantly that we all should pursue our dreams, kick stereotypes and myths to the curb and work hard for the kind of life we want. Kobe Bryant did that in spades.
Poised to apply those characteristics that made him a giant in basketball; to businesses he was developing in the television, film and sports arenas, Kobe was taken from us at the age of 41.
Like so many on this Monday morning my heart hurts deeply. The solace I have is that his legacy and his example will live on.
My heart felt condolences go out to his wife Vanessa, his daughters Natalia, Bianka and Capri, and all those who love, respect and will miss the giant called by most, simply, Kobe - the 24 and 8 man, and much more….