How well did you know Kobe Bryant? I didn’t. Yes, I know he was a popular pro basketball player. I will not say I know much about the sport, but one of the things I love to do is read about well-accomplished people.
One time during my leisure, I went through Lebron James’ social media pages. You know how intrigued I was reading about Cristiano Ronaldo last year? This was no different. Due to the excitement, I searched James’ kids on social media and it was clear their desire for the sport.
For me, when I hear about something that I have little or no information about, I tend to make researches. It’s amazing how we find the answers to almost any question by making proper research. It is one of the many habits I emulated from my sister of which I’m thankful.
Sadly, I only know a few basketball players by name, but the faces, not so much. I got to know the name Kobe Bryant on social media. It was one of those names that people frequently mentioned. Unfortunately, that name didn’t intrigue me as much as Steph Curry’s did. I remember I had to read about Steph and his family, and I was enthralled.
Sometime in December, I was having a conversation with my brother talking about random things, one of which was his love for basketball. While conversing, I mentioned Kobe Bryant. What did I know about him? Why did I suddenly remember his name? I guess it’s because I had heard the name one too many times and it was already registered in my subconscious.
My brother told me Kobe retired a few years back, and in December he was still coaching his daughter’s basketball team. During our chit-chat, I talked with so much confidence like I knew Kobe so well, but the truth is I didn’t even know what he looked like. I had imagined someone totally different.
The day the news about his death broke, I was in school preparing for my graduation ceremony which I was lowkey excited for. I was happy to finally celebrate something. I was also thrilled to be watching Royal Rumble (wrestling) with my friend that night. It was a little after dark when I heard the news. My friend, reading from her phone, said, “A famous basketball player is dead.”
As Lebron James is the most famous player I know, I immediately exclaimed, “Shey Lebron James ni?” You will not believe how scared I was at that moment. I had this rush of emotion; panic and anxiety. The word ‘dead’ brings back a lot of memories. My friend instantly snapped at me and said it was some other guy, Kobe Bryant. He had died in an helicopter crash with his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna.
Disturbed by such sad news, I had so many questions. In fact, I almost questioned God. Why do bad things happen to good people? Minutes after picking up my phone, I saw his photos all over social media. I was out of words. I laid in bed, reading articles about him and I was almost in tears.
The pain was familiar, like a recurring feeling. My thoughts went to his family and I wondered how they were handling two losses at once. All I could do was silently pray for all those mourning during that period.
I thought things would be better in the morning, but it wasn’t. I couldn’t help but remember my loss, and how people were in shock when they heard the news. I also couldn’t believe I had talked about him less than a month ago.
The pain hurt so much that I wished it were a bad dream I could wake up from. I called my brother for closure. I’ve come to realize that when you’re grieving, you need someone that understands your pain. I remembered the memories we both shared at the hospital, how we stood by each other through it all.
My graduation ceremony was a reminder that she’ll be absent on many occasions. I couldn’t explain how I felt to anyone that I sobbed quietly and prayed for strength to go through the day. I had worked twice as hard for her to be proud of me and celebrate with me that day.
Amidst all the sadness I was feeling, I believe she was there. Looking down at me, smiling, telling me how proud she was of me, and assuring me that I will be just fine. I guess I was too overwhelmed with everything.
A few days back, I read a quote that said, “You better love the people God loaned you because he’s going to want them back someday.”
We do not know what day will be our last, when God will say, “My child, it’s time to come home.” We can only try to do what is right. To love one another, to be kind to one another, and to do our very best to be like God.
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