In Memory of Kobe and Gianna Bryant

I’m not a basketball fan, but this one woke me up.

The world was smothered in sadness on January 26th, as social media flooded all feeds with the death announcement of basketball icon and sports legend Kobe Bryant, losing his life to a tragic helicopter crash accompanied by his daughter, Gianna. 

Losing anyone to a tragedy such as this is unfathomable, however, our society tends to react the strongest when it involves a social icon or role model figure, a person that most imagined would be around forever. Although life is cruel and often unfair, reality cut his life short; I believe Kobe Bryant’s name and legend will continue to linger forever among fans of the sport and beyond.

We are often reminded by spiritual, self help books to live in the now, to cherish the present and hug our loved ones any chance we seize, which I do believe in. However, what I have noticed is how these values do not always impact people until their own heroes pass, becoming a reminder that reality is in fact real and tragedies such as the most recent loss the sports industry suffered from are sadly also real. I am perhaps “guilty” of reading such books, the ones that emphasize the present, never promising tomorrow. But I too am hit the hardest when a name I never imagined passing in such a traumatic accident is lost.  

I wrote this piece with no intention to preach what the self help and spiritual enlightenment books which consume the shelves already address, to live in the moment and never fret about the future. I write this instead with the utmost sincerity to put your problems in perspective. Do not downplay or diminish your problems however, because everybody has them, and honestly, you will probably always have a “problem” on your plate. By putting your problems into perspective, by this I mean to prioritize. I mean to relax, reconsider, breathe, and smile. Smile because three people you love woke up this morning, because your classmate saved you a seat after you stressed yourself out in this morning’s rush hour, smile because you simply have the chance to. At this time of year especially, and more specifically for students, we find ourselves overwhelmed with assignments, presentations, graduate school applications and future career path options. I have witnessed these stressful components among others tear apart both strangers and the people I hold the closest to me into shreds both emotionally and physically as they become consumed by the aspects of life that are often out of their control. 

There is no silver lining to the death of Kobe Bryant, his thirteen year old daughter Gianna, or the remaining lives lost on the tragic helicopter crash on Jan. 26. There is simply only the abrupt, earth shattering reminder to take your moments seriously. Take photographs, share them. Book trips, cherish them. Work hard and stay curious, there is so much more out there to learn. Be passionate, because being utterly obsessed with something you love is actually admirable; passion is “cool.” Tell that person you love them, and mean it. No time on the planet we call home is ever guaranteed and for that alone, moments should never be taken for granted. I write this piece after personally reflecting on the hundreds of posts in tribute of Kobe and Gianna Bryant I scrolled through last night, witnessing the ability of social media users from around the globe to collaboratively mourn, remember and grieve together. However, I felt the need to write this because what I witnessed was not only mourning, but some realization to my message mentioned today in regards to appreciating and cherishing every single moment. I noticed my peers becoming more aware of the aspects of life that are truly worth one’s energy, reminding myself that too. May the lives lost rest in peace, and the families affected find peace in their legends left behind which will continue to inspire others for eternity.