Kobe Bryant is dead.
I shouldn’t be writing this.
When I woke up this morning, I planned on editing some Valentine’s Day pieces, and a book review.
But not this.
At the age of 41.
Not even a Hall of Famer yet.
Still fresh on all sports fans’ minds.
Possibly the most famous basketball player ever…
I always assumed he’d lived until he was an old man, and maybe become a coach or manager, and still be a part of basketball.
I’d comment to whoever was in the room, “Now that Kobe. Boy, he could play. I think he may have been as good as Jordan.”
We would then have a conversation about Kobe’s career and what he is doing now, how old he got, and what he would do if he was still playing.
That’s all a dream now.
The next time someone compares Kobe Bryant to Jordan, Kobe will be dead.
I know. I know.
I shouldn’t write this here.
We talk words here.
There is no room for men like Kobe here.
He is an athlete.
He is not a writer.
And let’s be honest, he is no saint. (Those scandals didn’t come out of nowhere)
But I will anyway.
Because Kobe Bryant was one of my heroes growing up.
I was that one kid who could tell you everything about Kobe Bryant.
He knew how to speak Italian because his dad played in Europe.
He grew up in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
The Charlotte Hornets picked him right out of high school and made the mistake of sending him to LA.
Shaq and him didn’t get along because Kobe was too business-like for the big fella.
He has always been a part of my life.
All the kids growing up wanted to be him.
When someone faded away on the court, they were playing like Kobe.
Even today, when I go to play at the local gym, all the young guys model themselves after him.
Off the court, I learned from watching interviews of Kobe what a good work ethic looked like.
He never took anything for granted.
He was always trying to improve his game.
And he truly loved the game of basketball.
I take those lessons with me in my professional life.
So much that I don’t think anything of waking up early in the morning for a job.
Why? Because Kobe did it.
For as much as Kobe was an LA Laker, he never became a part of the LA glamour crowd I can’t stand.
After hearing the news, I was so shell shocked, I couldn’t cry.
I was in a fog, and I admit, I am still in that fog, as I write this piece.
If I wasn’t the actual editor-in-chief for this blog, this piece would probably have been rejected.
Because Kobe Bryant has no right to be on a literary blog.
I was so sad that I went on my laptop and played the song “Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life” to cheer me up.
Letting sadness dwell in your heart does nothing for you.
It only brings you more down.
It is best to accept the pain and move on from it.
All those tears can’t bring him back.
After that funny song, I heard John Cleese give a funny eulogy to his friend Graham Chapman, who, like Kobe, died way too young.
And I felt inspired to deal with this tragedy with humor.
A legend deserves more than our tears when he dies.
The NBA won’t do this.
So I will…
Today we lost NBA icon Kobe Bryant. The great LA Laker, the Black Mamba, the Last Samurai, and an inspiration to many basketball fans around the world. He was only 41 when he died, not even yet elected in the Basketball Hall of Fame. Surely there has not been a tragedy like this in basketball in my lifetime. Many of you are sad and hurt by this tragic helicopter accident that took the life of the man so many of us love.
One thing from all of this is very clear to me. God is a Celtics fan.
When I heard the news I, like all of you, cried and thought of the great lesson that Kobe Bryant taught us. Don’t ever go on a helicopter. They are scary and frankly not worth it. Take a train, or a bus if necessary.
You all are saddened by his death, but I say good riddance. He was a ball hog who didn’t know how to pass. Needed a big man like Shaq to win. Frankly, I always liked Jordan more anyways.
He spoke like Jordan and stole his moves. If Michael Jordan was The Beatles, then Kobe is clearly the Rolling Stones.
I say this not as an insult to Kobe, but a tribute to him.
I can almost imagine Kobe smiling at all this and saying, “Yeah, you know. That’s funny.” Or perhaps that is Kobe calling for the ball again. I can’t tell sometimes.
Also, I am afraid if none of us are going to laugh at all, then we will all drown in our tears.
So why not show no respect to the man who deserves the most?
When you play basketball, play like Kobe; Dribble too much, not know how to pass, and demand that your teammates play better. And whatever you do, avoid that helicopter.
We miss you, Kobe. I hope you learn how to pass in heaven.
Please take a moment to read Sarah Beach's article on the man, cause someone on this blog had to relate the death to literature, and I know it wasn't going to be me.
About The Blogger
Greg Luti is an editor and blogger on pensandwords.com. His favorite writers are Robert Frost and Charles Bukowski. He enjoys reading up on history, watching comedies, and playing video games, when he is not writing down a few notes for his next piece. He started this blog out of his love for literature and hopes that the reader shares that same passion.
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