Where were you?
I can’t ignore the elephant in the room this morning. While I don’t know how many people outside of the USA follow basketball, I know that most people who live here knew of Kobe Bryant. Yesterday, he was in a serious helicopter crash in Calabasas, California. None of the nine people on board survived.
At some point during the afternoon, one of the television news anchors commented that this would be one of those moments where we would all be able to recall where we were when we first heard the news. I was sitting on the retaining wall overlooking our side yard. I’d lazily picked up my phone, quickly scrolling through Facebook when I saw something my sister had posted about the accident. At first, I thought it had to be a hoax. Within seconds though, I was able to see it was real.
There are some people who just transcend. For example, I am about as far away from a basketball fan as possible. The last time I sat through a full game, Michael Jordan was still playing for the Chicago Bulls! Yet, I knew who Kobe Bryant was. I was neither fan, nor foe. As time wore on past his retirement from the sport, he successfully redefined himself from basketball player, to philanthropist and business leader. He earned the respect of the public not through words, but action.
Elevated beyond fandom
I think what surprises me most in this particular situation is that nearly everyone I know took at least a second to send their good wishes, whether on Facebook, Twitter, or elsewhere. It doesn’t seem to matter if you were a fan of Kobe, a basketball fan, or just a regular person – he transcended all of it. He was someone that people globally looked up to, admired, and/or hero worshipped. There are some people who are elevated beyond fandom. Kobe Bryant was one of those individuals.
This morning, I can’t help but think about how forty-one years wasn’t long, yet he did so much with that time. Now, I realize for his wife, family, and surviving children – it wasn’t nearly enough time. That, I understand completely. Even so, to most people who aren’t personally affected by the loss (beyond that of being a fan, I mean) – Kobe did an amazing amount of “good” with the time he had on this planet. That alone seems to be something to admire.
I’m sure some may point out that he had less-than-perfect moments. In 2003, Bryant was accused of rape. I watched as his wife Vanessa stayed by his side, even as Kobe admitted to adultery. At the time, I wondered if the seemingly perfect Bryant was really a rapist in disguise. I’m sure many people still wonder. It would seem to me, though, that the body of work left behind is worth a lot as evidence of the true person.
Legacies live on
Ultimately though, Kobe Bryant’s legacy will live on, at least as long as his fans are alive. When things like this happen, I wonder how I’ll feel when the day comes that one of my biggest heroes passes on.
I’ll be blunt (as always) – for me, Duran Duran changed the direction of my life as an adult. I became a blogger. I traveled a little, made friends, and learned a lot about myself, music, and people. The idea that people who created something so pivotal for me will eventually pass on isn’t a good one. I don’t know what that day will be like, only that I would eagerly opt out if at all possible. I’m sure that is how many of Kobe’s most ardent fans felt as they read the news yesterday.
Rest In Peace
My thoughts are with Vanessa Bryant, her surviving children – who lost not only a husband and father, but also a daughter and sister yesterday, along with the families of all those on board that helicopter yesterday.
Yes, it is likely that I’ll always remember where I was on this fateful day. Similarly to how I recall coming out of my sixth grade science & math classroom to see my friend Marsha sobbing over the loss of John Lennon in 1980. There are some things, and some people, that just transcend everything else.