This was an incredibly difficult article to write. It’s been a day since the tragic passing of Kobe Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna Bryant. On January 26th, news broke around 2:00 p.m. Central that a helicopter crashed in Calabasas, California with 1 pilot and 8 passengers perishing in the horrific accident. The two victims getting the most attention from the media, Kobe and Gianna Bryant, were among the deceased. However, the world should also mourn the passings of Alyssa Altobelli, John Altobelli, Kerry Altobelli, Christina Mauser, Sarah Chester, Payton Chester, and Ara Zobayan. All of these people lost their lives on a morning where everything seemed to be going according to plan and I hope they can rest in eternal paradise. I also, more than anything, hope all the families impacted by this event get the help they need to overcome whatever negative emotions they are dealing with.
I was hesitant to write this article because after something so horrible happens, who really knows what to say. I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to find the right words to successfully and respectfully represent everybody involved in the accident. By writing this article, I hope I can bring light to such a dark time and inspire people to come together and just focus on living a more fulfilled life.
I grew up in the generation where people were either LeBron James fans or Kobe Bryant fans, it always felt like there was no in between. I generally fell on the LeBron side of the coin but there’s no debating Kobe Bryant was one of the greatest basketball players of all-time. Throughout his illustrious career, Bryant was an 18x All-Star, 15x All NBA, 12x All-Defense, 5x NBA Champion, 2x Finals MVP, and 1x League MVP. There was no doubt about it, Kobe Bryant was the NBA superstar the whole world knew throughout the 2000s and he had a charisma about him that was incredibly inspiring. In fact, he was and will continue to be the most inspiring athlete of my generation.
When I was first starting to find a love for basketball and more importantly, the Milwaukee Bucks, my dad took notice and took me to my first live game. This game took place on December 6th, 2005, I was 7-years-old. Now, at 7, I don’t remember too much about the game except for the fact that Jamaal Magloire gave me a high five and the Bucks lost, but there were only two players I actually knew on the court, Michael Redd and Kobe Bryant. Looking back on this memory, it speaks volumes about the magnitude of Kobe Bryant. At 7-years-old, I only knew a handful of NBA players with Kobe being one of them. Heck, I even knew he was the best in the league at that time.
When I read the news on Twitter about the passing of Kobe Bryant, my stomach dropped. I was speechless. As news came out that his 13-year-old daughter was with him, I felt like throwing up. Devastating. Then, the story just kept getting worse as it came out that there were 7 more victims of the accident. Just an unimaginable tragedy. All I could think about were the families of the victims. I cried real tears for individuals I have never even met but felt a strong connection too. As someone who struggles with mental health issues and is a strong advocate for getting necessary help, all I could do was put myself in the shoes of someone like, Vanessa Bryant, Kobe’s wife. Even writing this article knowing how much I have struggled in the past with things not as devastating as what happened, I could only imagine what Vanessa and the other families are dealing with mentally. I hope, from the bottom of my heart, they get whatever they need to trudge through this trying time. The world needs to send them as much love and positive vibes as humanly possible.
It’s crazy that something like this needs to happen to remind me, and others, just how fragile life is. You never know what’s going to happen in the future, even 10 minutes from this exact moment. When I heard the news of Kobe’s passing, all I could think about was my family. I immediately hugged all of my six siblings, told them I loved them because you just never know. I hugged my mom, my dad, and thought about how much I loved each and every one of them. All I wanted was for my girlfriend to get off of work and tell her the same thing. Being reminded of the fragility of life really puts in perspective how lucky you really are every day, just to grace the Earth.
This whole event, the aftermath, really has me thinking about the things I complain about. I need to stop sweating the small stuff, I need to live in the moment and stop dwelling on things I can’t control. It’s really not worth it. I need to be a more joyful person, a better brother, son, boyfriend, because you just never know what’s going to happen. Use this tragedy as a way to focus on the good things in life because they can be taken away so quickly. From now on, I will never miss the chance to be around the ones I love and will never take it for granted.
Written in memory of: Kobe Bryant, Gianna Bryant, Alyssa Altobelli, John Altobelli, Kerry Altobelli, Christina Mauser, Sarah Chester, Payton Chester, Ara Zobayan