kobe bryant

Credit: Rob Carr / Staff / Getty Images

Kobe is Gone and Now We Must Figure Out How to Cope With the Loss

ESPN Radio
January 27, 2020 - 11:18 am

By Charlie O. Mallonee @Charlieo1320

Before we deal with anything else, the loss of Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna in a helicopter crash on Sunday is really about a wife and mother losing her husband and her baby. It is about three children losing their daddy and sister in what now seems like a senseless accident. It’s about extended families that are in grief about losing a son way to soon and having a 13-year granddaughter taken away before she could reach adulthood.

This is not a story about loss a great basketball player – it is a story about a tremendous family tragedy.

A moment of honesty

I need to say that I was not a fan of Kobe Bryant. When he broke into the NBA, I lived in the Bay Area and I was a fan of the Golden State Warriors. I did not report on the NBA. I reserved professional basketball as sanctuary sport to just enjoy and just be fan. When the Lakers came to the Bay, I was the first to be on my feet to boo Kobe when he was introduced as a part of the starting lineup. I hated Kobe because he would just dissect the Warriors.

Later when I started reporting on the NBA in Sacramento, I was critical of Kobe for hanging on too long with the Lakers. I felt he was holding the team back by eating up too much salary while not being “the Black Mamba” of the past that could dominate a game and lead a team to a championship. I understood that it is hard to give up a game that you love, but at some point, you must make the hard decision to cut the tie that binds.

I respected Kobe Bryant and his talent. I just was not a fan.

One of the last straight from high school players

Kobe was one of the last players to enter “the Association” straight out of high school. He had a unique background as his father was a former NBA player and then went to Europe to continue his career. Bryant lived in Italy experiencing an international lifestyle that no doubt helped prepare him for his professional career.

Bryant was also known for having an incredible work ethic. His goal was to outwork his competition, and he did it on a regular basis.

If you want to see all of Kobe’s accomplishments, go to Basketballreference.com and study the stats that he put up over 20 years in the league.

Post NBA activities

I truly became more fascinated with Kobe after his basketball career ended. He became interested in becoming a storyteller which resulted in him receiving an Oscar for his short film “Dear Basketball”. There may have been many more stories to have come according to those who knew Bryant well.

I also was impressed that Bryant became the coach of his daughter Gianna’s basketball team. Rather than becoming the owner or GM of an NBA team, being the coach of his 13-year old daughters team appeared to be much more important to Kobe. To this Grandpa, that says his priorities were in the right place.

I am sad today

First, my heart goes out to Kobe’s widow and his three daughters. There is no way to understand the feeling of loss they must be feeling right now as they deal with the death of a husband, father, daughter and sister.

I am also sad for the many fans who loved Kobe for the joy he brought them over the 20 years of his NBA career. The loss of “the Black Mamba” cannot be replaced.

Kobe and Gianna – Rest in Peace.

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