Updated: Jan 30, 2020
The news of Kobe Bryant’s death rocked the world. It was as if time stood still for hours as the news broke. I can remember exactly where I was when I found out: standing in line with a buggy full of next week’s dinner, and supermarket flowers. I had not looked at my phone since early that morning, but the long line in front of me granted some “free” time. I pulled my phone out and was rocked by the news, “Kobe Bryant dead at 41”. As the day went on, more and more details were released, the world found out that the tragedy was even more devastating. Kobe was flying in a helicopter with his 13 year old daughter and seven others when it crashed into the mountains in Calabasas California. All nine of them died.
Like millions of other people around the world I thought that news was unbelievable, that some reporter had gotten a bad “scoop” and would have to print a retraction later. But it was true and it was real. Now, we are all mourning together. I’ve seen a lot of trolls online that question the validity of mourning a “celebrity” using the excuse of not truly knowing someone personally as a barrier for grieving their loss. However, I don’t believe that is how grief works, particularly with celebrities and public figures and the impact they have on the lives of others.
For many of us, Kobe Bryant is connected to memories with our families, watching the NBA playoffs and screaming at our TV’s together. He’s been what motivates us to go a little harder in the gym and channel the Mamba Mentality. For some, he’s the reason why they ever picked up a basketball and started a journey of pursuing their dreams on the basketball court.. He’s impacted the lives of millions in life and in death.
When someone has an impact on your life, it doesn’t matter how well you knew them, where you know them from, or if they were from the same city you’re from. That’s not how impact works. True impact comes from nowhere and you don't see it coming, but it shifts the ground beneath your feet and you end up in a different place than you were before. It rocks your foundation.
Having an impact in someone's life isn’t contingent on knowing them personally, and it is infinitely more divine than flesh and blood. It’s spiritual. It is from that thing that connects us all together.
If you are sad and grieving, that’s perfectly ok. Being aware of the fragility of life allows us to be grateful for the simple parts of our lives and to not take anything for granted. It makes us hold the ones we love a little tighter, worry for tomorrow less, and live more in the moment today. Anything can happen at anytime so there is no use trying to predict the future and dwell on what we think will happen. We are not promised another minute on this earth, neither are our loved ones. Live every moment with the gratitude and wonder that it deserves.