The sports world lost a legend and more.
Maybe you’re not into basketball. Maybe you’re not into sports at all. But no matter who you were, Washington Redskins fan, Star Wars fanatic, or disconnected scrapbooker, you knew who Kobe Bryant was.
It was not just the nature of Bryant’s accomplishments, but of Bryant himself, that demanded he would rise to the exalted echelon of the sports lore, and in effect, transcend the very realm of sports itself. Bryant played in the NBA for 20 years. In 18 of those years, he was an NBA All-Star. He won five NBA championships, an MVP award in 2007, and ended his career as the league’s all-time scoring leader.
Bigger than his statistical exploits was the impression Bryant left on a nation, and a world.
Bryant had a spot reserved in the Hall of Fame the moment he left the league, and he was due to enter. But tragically, he could not live to experience that day. Earlier today, it was reported that Bryant died in a helicopter crash in California. Details are still coming in, but Bryant’s death has been confirmed.
In the wake of tragedies like these, the boundaries between professions are lifted, and people of all origins become rememberers. The Redskins players have taken to Twitter to express their sorrow, for the death of a basketball player who grew to become more. And he still had so much more left ahead of him.
Redskins Players React
Heartbreaking news about Kobe Bryant 🙏🏿
— TheIronman (@LFletcher59) January 26, 2020
Mindset. Mentality. Mental Toughness. Mamba….🐐
— Montez Sweat (@_sweat9) January 26, 2020
I can’t even put the words together for this….not Kobe
— Adrian Peterson (@AdrianPeterson) January 26, 2020
Man my body so numb. Life wayyyyyy to short. Cherish every minute, hour, day with your loved ones. RIP KOBE
— Shaun Dion Hamilton (@iam_sdh20) January 26, 2020
— LANDON COLLINS (@TheHumble_21) January 26, 2020
Just met Kobe while training at his facility for the NFL. RIP to a legend. Gone too soon 🐐
— Dwayne Haskins, Jr🌹 (@dh_simba7) January 26, 2020
Part of me didn’t want to write this. It’s not right to jump on a wave like this for some clicks. But Bryant is one of the few people who used his sports platform to connect millions across the world. Perhaps not consciously, but in moments of irreplaceable greatness. The 2000 Western Conference comeback. The revenge against Boston in 2008. The free throws on a torn Achilles. All moments underscored by a crowd in unison awe, focused on the man wearing No. 24.
The best we can do to remember him is know that so many were impacted by his legacy, and appreciate how much of an impact he was able to make. The reactions, from others striving for greatness, shows that he made it.
The least we can do is follow in his footsteps, and connect through the cherished memories. Whether it’s by sending a tweet and a prayer, holding a moment of silence, or shouting “Kobe” in the driveway. Cherish the memories. Memories that only he could have made. Rest in Peace, Kobe Bryant.