| By Tracey Matthews |
I was browsing the news online Sunday, January 26, when I read that basketball star Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna, along with seven others, were killed in a helicopter crash. My immediate response was disbelief, but after several other sites corroborated the news, I knew it to be true. An utter sadness quickly spread over me that I couldn’t explain. I didn’t know him, yet I felt like a member of my own family had died. Over the next few days, I saw people of all ages from around the world with similar feelings of sadness and loss. The world didn’t just lose an NBA legend, it lost a father, a husband, a mentor, a youth inspiration, and a man who had grown so much in his short 41 years.
Bryant is my favorite NBA player of all time, and I’ve been following his career since he was drafted to the NBA out of high school, so part of me feels like we grew up together. I watched his triumphs and failures, his great ideas and bad decisions, and his relentless pursuit of being the best at his craft.
With the fourth-highest points scored in NBA history at the time of his death, Bryant had an outstanding basketball career, but his pursuits after basketball showed that he had so much more to share with the world. Coaching his daughter Gianna’s Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) basketball team; turning his passion of storytelling into an Oscar-winning basketball tribute and a soon-to-be released children’s sports fantasy series; championing women’s basketball; and inspiring others with his hard-work mantra “Mamba Mentality” are just a few endeavors that Bryant had made his mark on since retiring from basketball. I am sad to know that we will never see what was still to come. RIP, Kobe. You will be missed.
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