I’ve cried over the loss of a man I’ve never met, but it makes perfect sense. I first learned of the helicopter crash via a text from a friend. I simultaneously headed to TMZ.com and turned on my TV. Unbelievable is the only word that describes how I felt upon learning of his sudden passing. Seeing the smoking wreckage, and learning that three of the nine souls lost were children was absolutely heartbreaking.
You don’t have to be a Lakers fan to appreciate the legacy of Kobe Bryant. As an Angelino for the past six years I’ve come to understand a little bit about the culture in Los Angeles. Thousands of people move here ever month from all over the world. A variety of backgrounds and ethnicities all call Los Angeles home. Sports seems to be one of the biggest unifiers. I stood in a sea of diverse faces gathered outside a local grocery store where an artist painted a mural of Kobe and his daughter Gigi. It was cathartic to hear the stories of Kobe's kindness and how his dedication to basketball had encouraged folks to work harder in their own lives. For me it's two things that make this one tough. First, at 41 years old he's not that much older than me. I remember when he started his career. I remember when he retired and started producing film projects. Being close in age to him makes me realize my own mortality. It makes you think what will people remember me for? The other reason this celebrity death stings a bit is because he and his daughter were heading to do something positive, something they loved. When other celebrities die young it's almost always because of something they were doing to themselves--- drugs, fast cars and fast women. Kobe was sharing his wealth with is daughter's teammates. Helicopters or air travel tends to be safer than riding in a car. LA traffic is absolutely insane so I KNOW why he flew everywhere he went, it made sense. That's why this hurts, none of it makes sense. I"m praying that God will help all of us make sense of what happened. The hurt will only get heavier as more details of what happened come out. The families directly impacted by this will never be the same and a humongous dark cloud hangs over the usually sunny Los Angeles.