by Austin Silvey @SilveyESP
We were heading home from Mobile, AL on Sunday, January 26, 2020, when my wife told me that Kobe Bryant had died. We were just coming through Montgomery. I immediately looked at her and said “That’s fake,” without hesitation. I told her to let me check my twitter timeline and see if anyone else is reporting it. The second I did my heart sank...
I’ve been a diehard Celtics fan my whole life. I’ve rooted against the Lakers forever and still do. But Kobe transcended that hatred for me. He was always a rival but never an enemy to me. He was a player I enjoyed watching, well, except when he played Boston.
Growing up, and even still to this day, every time I shoot a paper ball into a trash can or take what I think is a really nice shot in a game of pick-up basketball, I always yell out “KOBE!” That’s a trait most people in my generation share and one I hope never fades away. Kobe was an inspiration. He was an iconic player & public figure.
Even after retirement he was making an impact; you could argue an even greater impact. He was not only respected as a basketball legend, but also as a global business man, an inquisitive mind, as a husband, and as a father. He mentored athletes in any sports. He rooted for greatness and required it from anyone he came in contact with.
His daughter, Gianna or GiGi, was lost with him as well as seven other people in the helicopter crash. She was only 13 years old with a bright future ahead of her.
As more news was released throughout our drive home, the more real it became. We were listening to mystery/crime thriller podcasts the whole ride to help pass the time and while they were intriguing, my mind was stuck on the tragedy I just learned about.
I can’t imagine what the families and friends of the nine people lost must feel right now. I pray for them to find peace through it all.
It’s still hard to process and accept as reality. It doesn’t quite feel real to me, at least not yet. Even as a retired NBA player at 41 years old, it felt like Kobe was just getting started in a way.
Kobe, Gianna....you will be missed. To the seven other people lost, you will be missed.
I hope that as we all go forward in life, that we love without boundaries, show compassion to all, and strive for greatness with a Mamba Mentality.