Kobe Bryant was one of the most prolific professional basketball players of all time, winning five championships with the Los Angeles Lakers. He was the 3rd highest scorer in NBA history until January 25th, 2020, when LeBron James took his place, moving Kobe to 4th.
In classy Kobe fashion, he tweeted “continuing to move the game forward @KingJames; much respect my brother”. That tweet would be his last public statement. Kobe and his 13 year-old daughter were killed with several others, in a tragic helicopter crash the next day, on January 26th.
When I reflect on Kobe’s passing, two things come to mind. First is how we glorify our heroes in this world, whether sports stars, performers, dignitaries, or the rich and otherwise famous. In our culture, they are idolized. They are held on a pedestal, with most being envious of their lives, often believing that they don’t have challenges like us plain folk.
Two points I would make on the above:
- Everyone, regardless of fame or fortune, or lack thereof, has challenges in their lives….everyone!!!
- We are gifts from God, made in His image and likeness. As such, we are not to look down on anyone. Likewise, we are to look up to no one except Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior.
Number 2 above doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t try to emulate positive characteristics of others. It does mean that you aren’t to idolize or envy them.
The second thing I think of are the “Big Three” things that Kobe arguably had figured out. They include:
- It’s widely known that Kobe was Catholic. That in of itself isn’t a big deal in that many Catholics don’t practice the faith. Kobe did, reportedly attending 7AM Sunday Mass on a regular basis, including the day he and his daughter were killed.
- It’s also widely known that Kobe made a bad decision in 2003, where he was with a woman other than his wife. Kobe is quoted as saying, “The one thing that really helped me during that process was talking to a Priest”. Kobe indicates that the Priest gave him advice that all of us could use, “Let it go. Move on. God’s not going to give you anything you can’t handle, and it’s in his hands now. This is something you can’t control. So let it go”. Kobe indicated that was the turning point.
- Even with the above, although they split for a period, Kobe and his wife, Vanessa, reconciled. The couple had 4 beautiful daughters. Reports indicate that Kobe was hugely invested in all of his girls, including his precious wife.
- So many people step over their families to be with others. Not Kobe. As the reports indicate, he knew his priority. He spent tons of time with them and loved them all dearly.
- In watching interviews and reading several articles, it’s clear that from a very young age, Kobe was an incredibly hard worker. He knew his passion. He pursued his passion vigorously and he was among the very best.
- One interview indicated that Kobe was keenly aware of the platform that basketball gave him. As such, he was committed to making a difference in retirement. With a concentration on youth, the Kobe and Vanessa Bryant Family Foundation provides scholarships and leadership training, while attacking youth homelessness. They were both actively involved in other charity work as well.
In reading my blogs, you know that I strongly believe that God made each of us with special gifts and talents; gave us all a unique purpose….and that it’s incumbent upon us to discover those things and exercise our greatness. You also know that I believe that first in our lives needs to come our faith and our family. Kobe Bryant got it. He did these things. He’s a great example to all of us, not because he’s an NBA star, but because he loved our God, embraced his purpose, and was a very good husband and father. Kobe and Gianna, Rest in Peace.
How is Kobe an example to you? Feel free to comment on that question or reach out to me with other questions, comments, challenges at Mark@MarkJosephMinistries.com.
God Bless you on your Path to Peace, Joy, and Fulfillment!!!