On Sunday 26th January, it was announced that Kobe Bryant had died in a helicopter crash. Bryant was one of nine people who died when the helicopter he was in crashed on a hillside in Calabasas, California. The victims included Bryant’s 13-year-old daughter and rising basketball star Gianna as well as John Altobelli, his wife Keri and his daughter Alyssa.
Let me take a breath because I’m struggling not to cry as I write this. This is so horrifying and upsetting. Basketball fans, the Black community, friends and people who just knew of the brilliance of Kobe Bryant are devastated. How can we not be? He was one of the great athletes to ever live and he inspired an entire generation of athletes. Who else remembers trying the throw a paper ball into a bin yelling “Kobe”? If we are devastated, then I cannot begin to imagine what Kobe’s wife Vanessa is going through. To lose your husband tragically at the age of 41 is one thing but to lose your child too… I can only imagine it is as though one’s worst nightmare has come to life.
A lot of the press coverage surrounding the death of Bryant has been questionable at best and deplorable at worst. From TMZ reporting of Bryant’s death on social media before the family was informed or the BBC using Lebron James’ image in the tribute instead of the deceased is beyond incompetent.
I am expecting lawsuits for TMZ and heads to roll at the BBC. Can you imagine finding out about the death of your loved one on Twitter and then having one of the reputable news sources prove that their staff doesn’t know how to Google search? I am willing to bet that if David Beckham were to tragically pass, the BBC would not use three video clips of Steven Gerrard.
Despite the nonsense of the press coverage, it does not take away that Kobe Bryant was a hero to many and will never be forgotten. Fans have been paying tribute to him throughout LA, basketball players current and retired and there were several tributes to him at the Grammys awards. These included songs by Alicia Keys & Boys II Men and him being included in the tribute to Nipsey Hustle. Even the Empire State Building lit up in the Lakers colours of purple & yellow in Bryant’s honour.
Here is my tribute to Black Mamba:
I remember the first time I saw Kobe Bryant. It must have been in 2000/2001. I was watching the music channels and Destiny’s Child’s video for Bug A Boo came on. I loved Destiny’s Child so I sat and watched it. I was drawn in as the then DC4 hid in a men’s locker room to escape their “bug a boo” boyfriends and in that locker room was Kobe Bryant. I thought he was gorgeous. At that moment he came more important to me than Beyoncé & Kelly. I later found out that he wasn’t an actor for the video but the famous Lakers player, Kobe Bryant. So, I became a Lakers fan of the strength of his cameo on Bug A Boo. I used to stay up until the early hours of the morning to watch the Lakers play. Kobe was the reason I became invested in basketball. I even bought the official Kobe jersey when I was 15 in Hamburg, Germany. He is the reason I love Basketball and used to table official games for extra money at University.
The death of Kobe Bryant is a painful reminder that life is not guaranteed, and death is not a respecter of person. All I can say is that we should live life to the full, fulfill our purpose, be kind to everyone and tell the people who mean something to us how much we love them.
Please remember the Bryant and Altobelli family in your prayers. They will need them.