Kobe Bryant is gone. As I sit here typing this through tear filled eyes, I keep saying those four bone chilling words over and over to myself and I still refuse to believe it to be true. How could my childhood idol, an icon on and off the court, a family man and ambassador be gone just like that? God make it make sense.
Kobe was supposed to grow old, watch his daughters grow up, Gigi play college and WNBA ball. We were supposed to see Kobe with a grey and white beard 40 years from now being honored at NBA All Star Weekend for a life time achievement award, much like how we honor Bill Russell. We were supposed to be inspired one more time this summer when Kobe gave what would have been nothing short of a phenomenal Hall of Fame speech. Damnit the legend of Kobe was supposed to live on, not end abruptly. before his story was finished being told.
While I mourned the end of your playing career on April 13th, 2016, I took solace in knowing while your career was over, your life was just getting started. With aspirations of being an author, director, coach for children, there was so much more for you to do here on Earth. I never imagined having to say goodbye, this time a permanent goodbye, ever so soon. I’m still numb and can’t put into words how tragic the loss of Kobe Bryant, his 13 year old daughter Gigi, and everyone else on board the helicopter.
Kobe and Gigi are leaving behind wife and mother Vanessa, daughter and sisters Natalia, 17, Bianka, 3, and Capri who is just 7 months old. There is no sense in this tragedy, no way to describe the pain in the heart of Vanessa and the family. The overwhelming sadness, the emptiness in the hearts of everyone outside of Staples Center, all the way across the world in China, is not going to go away anytime soon. The unexpected loss on a young icon just hits and tears at the soul a little harder than usual deaths, so cry, scream, let out all the emotions because there is nothing else to do. There is no understanding, no sense in this tragedy, just pain and sadness.
Kobe once said keep going, but today we can’t. We can’t shake the feeling that you’re gone. I’ll just share what Kobe meant to me, and then show the never ending outpour of love, condolences and reaction to the death of Kobe and company.
People are going to ask how and why Kobe’s death is weighing so heavy on my mental and in my heart, even though he had no clue I even existed. I’ll give the same answer every time. You see for me, Kobe was more than an athlete. He was my childhood hero, and as I grew older, he became an inspiration figure. Ask anyone who knows me and they’ll let you know how much of a Kobe Stan I was and am. Kobe plaques and jersey on my bedroom wall, countless social media posts of his highlights and inspirational quotes, emotional rollercoasters of watching you play, shedding tears watching you tear your achilles, and take your final shot, my childhood revolved around your career. I lived to debate Kobe or LeBron, Kobe or MJ, Kobe or Shaq. Countless late nights here in New York staying up til 1 am on school nights just to watch you perform your craft, I enjoyed every second of it. I just don’t want to accept that that time is up.
I took to social media to just let out the pain and sadness, much like the NBA family, and everyone else across the globe. Here are some of the emotional posts.
"Today is one of the saddest days in my lifetime."
Dwyane Wade reflects on the news of Kobe Bryant's death.
— ESPN (@espn) January 27, 2020
💔 Mamba Forever. pic.twitter.com/PJPy3r69aA
— NBA on TNT (@NBAonTNT) January 26, 2020
Jay Williams well said… 💔
— Ball Realm (@TheBallRealm) January 26, 2020
There’s no words to express the pain Im going through with this tragedy of loosing my neice Gigi & my brother @kobebryant I love u and u will be missed. My condolences goes out to the Bryant family and the families of the other passengers on board. IM SICK RIGHT NOW pic.twitter.com/pigHywq3c1
— SHAQ (@SHAQ) January 26, 2020
Trae Young wearing No. 8 for Kobe🙏 pic.twitter.com/DbRRD52Y7Q
— Hoop Central (@TheHoopCentral) January 26, 2020
"Just don't feel like broadcasting. I know a lot of the players don't feel like playing. It's just a sad, sad day."
Mike Breen speaking emotionally about Kobe's death at the start of the Nets-Knicks game pic.twitter.com/ufr9CVmd17
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) January 27, 2020
In the last year or two, I’ve noticed every time you saw Kobe, he had his little girl with him. Teaching her, leading her. Forget about the player he was, that’s the kind of dad I want to be. Sorry for the serious tweet but I admired him for that a lot.
— Brandon Walker (@BWalkerSEC) January 26, 2020
Lamar Odom on Instagram: "When I went through that coma situation if God would have came to me and said we would take me and spare Kobe I would have rather that happened."
Man that just hurts my soul to read.
— Farbod Esnaashari (@Farbod_E) January 27, 2020
— Complex Music (@ComplexMusic) January 27, 2020
Former @Lakers general manager Jerry West on the death of Kobe Bryant: "This was a man for all seasons. He was more than an iconic basketball player. He was someone who inspired millions of fans." https://t.co/11Afxxq9Wm pic.twitter.com/oEuiqPlVBZ
— Good Morning America (@GMA) January 27, 2020
Beyond devastated… my big brother… I can’t, I just can’t believe it
— Pau Gasol (@paugasol) January 26, 2020
Kobe was a legend on the court and just getting started in what would have been just as meaningful a second act. To lose Gianna is even more heartbreaking to us as parents. Michelle and I send love and prayers to Vanessa and the entire Bryant family on an unthinkable day.
— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) January 26, 2020