Saying Goodbye To Kobe

Kobe Bryant embodied the vision that many wish to achieve

It is just past midnight on January 27, 2020.  12:34 A.M. It’s been about ten hours since I heard the news – saw the news.  Perhaps that’s more accurate.  I was just finishing up my shift, I was standing by the time clock.  The same place I was 20 months ago when the Humboldt Broncos bus crashed and sixteen people lost their lives.  Most of them were kids, torn and stolen from their families before the prime of their lives.  I remember turning on my phone and seeing a notification from the CTV app.  It said there were confirmed fatalities after a bus crash in western Canada.  That’s all.  I wouldn’t learn the true impact until later that night.  Similarly, I checked my phone today at 2 in the afternoon.  The BBC News app had a headline that would rock not only the basketball world but the entire world: Basketball great Kobe Bryant, 41, has died in a helicopter crash, US media report.

I almost dropped my phone.  It didn’t seem real.  It felt like a dream to me.  Immediately, I texted all my best sports friends.  I Tweeted it out.  I was shocked.  Most of the major news outlets hadn’t quite got a hold of the story yet.  One of the girls from work called me over and told me Kobe was dead.  I told her I was shocked.  I didn’t know what to say.  My mom texted me about Kobe’s death and I told her I heard about it.  I was surprised she thought to text me.  I think I showed the girl from work the text.  I’m not sure, it was kind of a blur.  I grabbed my stuff and left.  I wanted to tell someone, anyone about the news.  Most people knew who Kobe was.  I checked my phone again.  By now, messages were rolling in from the other media apps.  CNN, CTV, CBC, I think even Apple news or whatever it’s called sent me something.  It was big news.

I got in my car and drove home.  The ten-minute drive felt long.  I wanted to get home and read about everything on Twitter, HFBoards, Reddit, YouTube, wherever I could.  My brother was in the kitchen when I got home.

“Oh my God,” I said.  I was still coming trying to figure things out.  I couldn’t process it.  I went downstairs and talked to my parents about it.  In hindsight, it was a bit odd.  None of us are massive basketball fans, and I was actually surprised my mom even knew who he was.  But I was in shock and when you’re in shock you do funny things.

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I texted my friends for a bit after that.  One told me about the time clock violations in the Raptors vs. Spurs game as a tribute to Bryant.  I turned the game on and listened to some of the tributes.  I went to Twitter and read tributes on there for a while. I learned that he died the day after LeBron passed him on the all-time points list.  Kobe’s last Tweet was congratulating King James.  At some point, I fell asleep.  When I awoke, it felt like Kobe’s death was a dream.  Of course, the T.V. was still on, with tributes for Bryant still being shown, so it came back pretty quick.  Just now I watched Kobe’s animated short “Dear Basketball,” and it broke me.  Behind the fierce competitiveness and the uncanny will to win Kobe was just like many of us.  It started for him as it did for most.  With a dream as a little kid.

Kobe, you are the reason I ever liked basketball.  I know it’s silly to address a dead guy who never even met me like this, but it feels as though he was a part of me.  It feels as though part of my childhood died.

I’ve never been huge into basketball.  I like hockey and football way more.  Depending on my mood, sometimes I like baseball more.  But I wouldn’t have liked basketball at all if it wasn’t for Kobe.  Kobe and Tim Duncan are the two that got me into the sport.  Not the Toronto Raptors. Not Vinsanity or Steve Nash.  It was Kobe.  Kobe is the reason I’m a Lakers fan.

I’ll never ever forget this day just as how I will never ever forget watching Kobe’s final game, where he dropped 60 in a spectacular farewell.  I’ll always remember pretending to be you, Kobe, as a kid.  Shooting free throws or driving to the rim for layups on the basketball net in front of our house.  You were by far my favourite player. I won’t forget the day you scored 81 points. I didn’t watch the game, but I saw the highlights.  Or how about when the Lakers beat the Celtics in the NBA Finals?  Or when they beat the Magic.  I remember shooting stuff into a garbage bin, and like so many other people, I would yell “Kobe!”  I distinctly remember doing that in the newsroom at Red River College as well, which means I’ve been doing it as recently as this year.

I didn’t know you off the court, Kobe, but you seemed like a stand-up, classy guy.  I’d only hear things about what a great father you were.  What a great ambassador for the game you were.  What a great person you were.

It’s late and I have homework I should do but I had to come and record my thoughts on this day that Kobe died.  I feel like I have more to say but I’m not really sure how to say it, so I’ll end it for now.  I might come back later to say a more proper goodbye to Kobe.

Kobe, the world aches with the news of your passing.  Many tears were shed for you today.  I’ll meet you one day.  Until then, keep playing your favourite game up there.

I’m going to end this with a quote from Kobe:

“I don’t want to be the next Michael Jordan.  I only want to be Kobe Bryant.”

Mission complete, Black Mamba.

Mamba out.

Kobe Bean Bryant

August 23, 1978 – January 26, 2020

Comments

  1. iam big fan of Kobe Bryant i never froget always missing in matches Kobe Bryant is champion in basketball.

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