Kobe—His Legend, His Legacy, his Fan-ily

Posted on February 2, 2020

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I’ve been thinking back to when my kids—young basketball fans— were 5 and 8 years old. They were so excited about Kobe Bryant, and they began to follow his career:

“He’s the one, Mama! He’s going to make it big.” 

“Did you see that dunk? He’s only 17!”

“He’s going to be a Laker, we’re sure.”

“Told you!! He’s going to be the best player ever.”

“You guys thought Jabbar and Jordan are legends! Ha!! He’s the one! You watch!”

Very quickly, my kids became Laker fans, and, before we knew it, diehard Kobe fans. Over the next few years, we either went to a Laker game or watched it on TV. My kids grew up with Kobe, literally. They suffered through losses, enjoyed the victories, followed the personal scandal and later his exemplary family values, cheered five championships, and applauded his significant philanthropic and community undertakings. My kids witnessed, rejoiced, cried over, and celebrated it all. 

Kobe’s Mamba Mentality both, on the court and off the court, became an inspiration to my son and daughter during their growing-up challenges. And I’ll never forget the first thing my son said when he met his now-brother-in-law for the first time: “Mom, he’s the one for my sister! He’s a bigger Kobe fan than I am—or so he thinks!” Yes, my family was Kobe’s fan-ily!

This past Sunday was a sad day for all of us. It was like a dark cloud hovered overhead. Clearly, we were not alone. At first, it seemed like it was mostly Angelenos who were drowning in sorrow. After all, this is Kobe’s home. Watching media coverage, though, made it crystal clear that not only all of this country but also the entire world was shocked and mourning the loss of Kobe and his daughter, Gianna.  

Our condolences and prayers go out to the Bryant family and to the other families who so tragically lost their loved ones. We all can feel the pain that those families are going through. I only hope that once their grief has subsided a little, they will cherish the beautiful memories that each of their loved ones leaves behind. 

Yes, life is short; life is precious. It’s moments like these that ground us and awaken us to what is real and what matters most—our children and families. Hold those you love close to your hearts and express your love every chance you get. For none of us know when we might smile, hug, or give each other kisses for the last time.