Writing is often therapeutic for me. Today, I don't feel like writing about money or finances or stewardship. My heart is pretty heavy. You see, I am a huge Kobe Bryant fan, he is my all time favorite athlete. Kobe is also the reason that I am a huge Lakers fan. I feel almost silly for writing this post since I am sad over someone dying that I never even met. All the same, people can have an impact on your life in different ways. I guess part of it is the general sadness you feel for a family who just lost a Dad/Husband and a 13 year old daughter and then there is the aspect of losing a hero.
Now Kobe was for from perfect. He has a past and some want to dwell on his mistakes. I see a man who made a mistake and then made right by it. From the outside looking in, one could pass judgment on Kobe as a rich celebrity athlete that flew in a helicopter as a means of transportation when a car was not good enough. Then there are the stories of him flying from his house to the STAPLES Center for practice and for games to avoid traffic. In a 2018 interview, Kobe was asked why he flew in a helicopter. In so many words he said that it was about time with his family, he had very little time. So he made every minute count when it came to his daughters. He saved so much time by flying that he was able to drive his girls to school and be back in time to pick them up in the afternoon.
This was a quote from a 2018 interview:
"So that's when I looked into helicopters, and be able to get down and back in 15 minutes. And that's when it started."
He said his routine was always the same: "Weights early in the morning, kids to school, fly down, practice like crazy, do my extra work, media, everything I needed to do, fly back, get back in the carpool line, pick the kids up."
He died flying in the very helicopter that created the luxury of time with his girls.
Much of the time super star athletes are not recognized for their intellect and insight. Besides the fact that he spoke three languages or that he won an Oscar, for a 23 year old playing basketball in the NBA as a young man he had wise insight. Jim Denison noted this quote in his column this morning. Kobe wrote this following 9/11 for a column in Newsweek:
“I’ve learned also that you can’t take things for granted. You know how we always say ‘See you later’? One thing I’ve realized from September 11 is that you can’t ever say that for sure. Things change in the blink of an eye. People go to work and don’t come back. One minute they’re living and the next minute they’re not. And, it doesn’t matter who you are, there is nothing you can do about it.”
He concluded: “We never know when our time here will be over, so we all need to make the most of every minute we have.”
Little did he know those words would define his life 18 years later. That brings me to my point. It is a tragedy that someone that led a full life, with such a bright future, and so young loses his life. It is even more tragic that GiGi his 13 year old daughter died also. He never took anything for granted and lived a full life maximizing every minute of it. In his final NBA interview before retirement with Jim Gray he had this to say:
Bryant said in his last interview that he had made a promise to himself at 15: “At the end of my career I want people to think of me as a talented overachiever. I was blessed with talent, but I worked as if I had none.” The lesson here is to maximize every gift of the present that God gives us because you never know when the present becomes past tense.
Rest in Peace Kobe and GiGi.....