On the passing of Kobe Bryant

Eva Philips, Staff Writer

On Sunday, Jan. 26, 2020, the world learned that basketball legend Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna, and seven others were killed in a tragic helicopter crash in California.

The outpouring of grief was immediate.

In a world tired of tragic events, this latest news seemed like the last straw.

Full disclosure, I know nothing about sports.

I have never had any interest in basketball or any other sport for that matter.

So it says something that even I knew who Kobe Bryant was, and when the news notification popped up on my phone screen Sunday afternoon, I was genuinely shaken.

It’s the kind of news that nobody wants to see.

I knew that Kobe Bryant was a sports giant, a basketball legend.

He played with the Lakers for 20 seasons, the longest run of any player in that team’s history.

But his legacy on the court was not what struck me most.

No, what struck me was learning that Kobe Bryant was the father of four young girls, one of whom also perished in the crash.

I do not doubt that the world of sports suffered a great loss on Sunday, but I am even more certain that his family is suffering an even greater loss, one that is unfathomable.

Today, it seems that tragedy and suffering are inescapable.

Turn on the news and that’s all you see, loss, pain and fear.

What our world did not need was more loss.

We did not need to be reminded of the tragedy of the human condition.

What we do need, however, is a reminder of humanity’s capacity for goodness.

And in the aftermath of Kobe Bryant’s death, I see that reminder taking shape.

Our nation is divided, and it seems sometimes that there is no way to heal that division.

But we found common ground this week, when across the United States, people stopped to mourn the death of a good man.

Regardless of political beliefs, everyone can agree on this: the loss of a good man is a blow to all.

And Kobe Bryant was a good man.

He was a father who loved his family, a team player, and a star who used his fame and wealth to bring support and awareness to noble charitable causes.

The fact that our nation and the world as a whole came almost totally together in mourning this past week shows us that all is not lost.

Beneath the divisions and controversies, we are still bound together by our common humanity.

Kobe’s death is a tragedy of the highest degree on so many levels.

Yet it is a reminder to us, a reminder that more unites us than divides us.

And it also reminds us of a difficult lesson, that life is fleeting.

When we inevitably lose a loved one, all we want is more time with them.

So I encourage you, hug a friend.

Call your parents, write a letter to someone you love.

The time we have on this earth is precious, don’t waste it.

Kobe Bryant certainly didn’t, and neither should you.