January 27, 2020
This is by far the hardest Monday Morning Coffee I have ever had to write. Let me start by saying my heart goes out to Vanessa and the entire Bryant family, as well as the families of all the other people that were on that flight. Obviously, everyone is going to talk about Kobe, but there were 8 other people on that flight that were people with families as well, and some people that were even close to some of my own family members. Yesterday’s helicopter crash was a shocking tragedy that left me shaken, and like many of you, I’m sobbing and sick to my stomach.
It’s amazing that the man that at times appeared to be invincible died yesterday. As a life-long Laker fan, and a Newport Beach resident, Kobe has felt like a part of my life, and that of many other Southern Californians for the last twenty years. We watched him grow up and mature before our very eyes, and captivate us for decades. It was easy to take for granted, but he was an absolute privilege to watch. Every time he took the court, you knew that you were watching greatness, and waiting for what he was going to do next.
I love the fact that Kobe defied logic on the basketball court. He built his career on making impossible shots. These impossible shots that he made were the shots that his opponents were hoping he would take, yet that’s how he succeeded.
Kobe also commanded respect from everyone. Even his most hated rivals, and those that hated him as a player or person. His work ethic and his ability to push through pain was second to none. I always loved it when over the years someone would tell me how much they hated Kobe, yet how much they had to respect him for all that. That work ethic is what’s so inspirational to people around the world.
What makes me even more sad is knowing how much closer it felt Kobe got to the current Laker players over the last few weeks. He finally started going to games again because Gigi got him into it. Dwight Howard is going to be in the Slam Dunk Contest next month at All-Star Weekend, and he wanted to have Kobe be a part of his routine. Their relationship had come so far. Then Kobe had expressed his support for Lebron before LBJ eclipsed his scoring mark on Saturday night.
Coincidentally, in recent days I began asking myself about Kobe’s legacy as Lebron approached his scoring mark. I thought to myself that Kobe’s legacy was largely around basketball. However, after seeing everyone’s reaction the last 24 hours, it solidified the fact that Kobe’s legacy goes beyond basketball. First of all, thanks to Kobe, he set a ridiculous standard for winning in Los Angeles. If you aren’t in the business of competing for championships, then we think you suck. Why do you think I complain about Andrew Friedman and the Dodgers every week?
More than anything though, Kobe Bryant’s “Mamba Mentality” is a metaphor for life. Kobe gave every ounce of his body on the basketball court until he physically had nothing left give and his body couldn’t handle it anymore. He also took that approach after basketball, and even won an Oscar. The metaphor is that if you don’t give it your all no matter what you’re doing in life, you will wake up one day with a lot of regret. In other words, live life every day like Kobe did…..pretending like your house is on fire, and strive to be great. You only have one life to live and approaching it with that mentality is this reason why Kobe inspires people around the world. Thank you Kobe for inspiring us all.