A Reflection on Kobe Bryant's Death
Feb 03, 2020
The death of NBA superstar Kobe Bryant yesterday has rocked many people. I remember watching Kobe for many years, and even though I was never a big NBA fan, I was always impressed with Kobe’s tenacity on the court and his remarkable resolve to never quit or take his foot off the gas. An iconic moment in Kobe’s career, the one which is most deeply ingrained in my mind, is when he tore his Achilles tendon on a play and then hobbled himself to the foul line to take his two shots before leaving the game. Here was a guy who couldn’t stand on two feet, but he simply refused to not finish the play. Since the news of his death I’ve listened to teammates, coaches, and media members all sharing their stories of the impact Kobe had on their lives by the way he lived and the way he played the game.
An additional element to this tragic story is that Kobe’s 13 year old daughter Gianna was with him in the helicopter yesterday and she also died in the crash. By all accounts, Kobe was a fantastic father who loved being involved in Gianna‘s life and their shared love of the game of basketball. Like everything else Kobe was all-in as a father, not just with Gianna but to all four of his daughters.
This is a sad story that serves as an important reminder to all of us. Love those closest to you the best you can and tell them you love them often. Being a truck driver is one of the hardest jobs that I can imagine. You spend days and weeks, sometimes even months, out on the road away from your family. It is a dangerous job and most days you're left feeling exhausted and unappreciated. It is in those moments that I’d encourage you to call a family member or a friend and tell them you love them. Even though you are away in body, you don’t have to be away in spirit and with your love and support. This is critical for all people, but especially for those who spend so much of their lives driving and living the difficult lifestyle of a trucker.
My dad was an owner-operator during my youth and there were long stretches of time when I didn’t see him much. Even when he was home he was often busy in the shop greasing a 5th wheel or replacing brakes or some other truck part that had worn out on the road. But despite that, never once did I question that he loved me. Just like a teammate watching Kobe shoot tirelessly in the gym to perfect his craft, I watched my dad give his all to provide for my mom and my siblings. Just like Kobe’s never quit attitude, I watch my dad overcome the difficulties of trucking and he never quit on himself or our family. He worked with the same bulldog mentality as Kobe to be the very best father he could be. Because of his efforts Kobe won MVPs on the hardwood, and because of his efforts my dad won MVPs in life.
May you and I, as we reflect on the loss of Kobe and the deaths of the other eight people aboard the helicopter, may we also reflect on those who have gone before us in life and taught and shaped us so greatly. And if we can, may we reach out and tell them, thank them, celebrate them, and do our best to honor their MVP efforts by striving to live MVP lives ourselves.