The photo above is one of many I took on February 2,2016. It was the first Lakers game I had ever attended at Staples Center. I was with my younger brother who had also never been to a Lakers game in his entire life. We were fortunate enough to get tickets to this game thanks to our oldest brother who purchased them for us. This was during Kobe Bryant’s last year playing in the NBA. It was one of the last sporting events I would attend in person while still living in Southern California at the time. Kobe scored 38 points with 5 rebounds and 5 assists and in typical Kobe fashion willed his team to victory down the stretch. The Lakers defeated the Minnesota Timberwolves 119-115.
This is probably the first time in over 10 years of writing for this site that I don’t really know what to say that hasn’t already been said.
All I can really do is just pray and pray some more. Nine lives were lost in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California on Sunday, January 26, 2020.
One of them was confirmed to be Kobe Bryant and then another life was one of his daughters. Gianna Bryant who was only 13-years old.
Orange Coast College’s head baseball coach, John Altobelli, his wife Keri and their daughter Alyssa are among the victims.
My heart aches for all the families involved. I have two older brothers who are around the same age as Kobe Bryant. They each have 3 kids. When the news confirmed the unimaginable that one of Kobe’s daughters was lost as well, I texted both of my brothers and told them how much I love and appreciate them and their families. Millions of people I’m sure did the same thing throughout the day.
There’s not much more I can say other than to share what I wrote the day after Kobe Bryant’s last game in the NBA on April 13,2016 at the end of this post.
Sending all of my thoughts and prayers to everyone affected by this tragedy.
I’ve enjoyed seeing you play in purple and gold for 20 years. Should I have children of my own or if my nieces and nephews ask me the question, “What was it like to see Kobe play?” Or, “Who was better, Kobe or Jordan?” I would simply say that it was watching poetry come to life on the basketball court. Your dedication to your craft could only be matched by Michael Jordan, whom I believe to be the best basketball player that I’ve ever seen. I don’t know if I could give a direct answer to the second question, but I would say that if you truly want to be good at something, you can look at both Kobe Bryant and Michael Jordan as examples of what you must do to become the best. It doesn’t have to be a sport, but they have both demonstrated that you have to have the will and determination to never give in and always strive to be the best. You do that and there will never be any regrets, even when you fail. Your example is one that will be admired by myself and others. You’ve accomplished so much and I congratulate you on a Hall of Fame 20-year career. Thank you.”