In a tragedy that reminds us yet again of the brevity of life, the NBA’s Kobe Bryant (#2 BEAR) was killed in a helicopter crash Sunday morning as he was reportedly heading to his “Black Mamba” gymnasium to coach his daughter’s basketball game in Southern California. Heavy fog in the Calabasas area is thought to have contributed to the accident, and Kobe’s 13 year old daughter, Gianna, was also among 9 people killed.
Kobe was a unique phenomena, to be sure. Back in the mid 1990s Jon Niednagel watched Bryant’s private workouts and was immediately impressed. Though the team Niednagel then worked for was going to select him, Jerry West (#6 BEIR) and the Lakers had the same ambition, and sneaked just in front. Remember, many experts at the time thought Kobe was not going to be anything sensational (hence he was picked 13th in the draft!). After all, he was just coming out of high-school. Nonetheless, Jon went on record that he would be shocked if Bryant didn’t become a perennial All-Star (not only due to his youth, size, and athleticism, but especially due to his #2 inborn design).
While #2s are not particularly known for their hard work-ethic, Bryant was an exception. He had a disciplined father, former NBA forward Joe “Jellybean” Bryant, who raised and trained Kobe abroad in Italy. Bryant learned to push himself beyond his limits (#2s are also naturally competitive), and it made him one of the best. Bryant once said, “I can’t relate to lazy people. We don’t speak the same language. I don’t understand you. I don’t want to understand you.”
As for his talent, not much needs to be written. “He has zero flaws offensively, zero,” Lebron James (#1 FEAR) said of Kobe. “You backed off of him, he could shoot the three. You body him up a little bit, he can go around you. He could shoot the mid-range. He could post. He could make free throws. That’s something I admired as well, just being at a point where the defense would always be at bay where they couldn’t guard you at all, where you just felt you were immortal offensively because of your skillset and your work ethic.”
And like many BEARs, Kobe loved kids. “I love telling stories. I love inspiring kids or providing them with tools that are going to help them.”
“Sick right now,” Tweeted Former Laker teammate Shaquille O’Neal (#6 BEIR) after his death. “We are all feeling sadness from this loss,” writes Jennifer Lopez (#1 FEAR), “but all I can think of is that it is a grain of sand compared to what Vanessa (Kobe’s wife) must going through right now.” Paula Abdul (#11 FCAL), who used to cheer lead for the Lakers, Tweeted, “I am completely speechless and devastated at the unexpected passing of my dear friend.” Lastly, Kanye West (#9 FCAR), who recently found faith, posted, “Kobe, We love you brother. We’re praying for your family and appreciate the life you’ve lived and all the inspiration you gave.”
In the end, we too at BTI have always attempted to approach life matters from from an eternal perspective. Life is fragile, and life is short, and while Stephen Hawking and others would have us believe the material world we see is the end-all, both religion and science prove otherwise. David Berlinski, Ph.D., (who does not avow belief in God) openly admitted, “Has quantum cosmology explained the emergence of the universe or why it is here? Not even close. Have our sciences explained why our universe seems to be fine-tuned to allow for the existence of life? Not even close. Are physicists and biologists willing to believe in anything so long as it is not religious thought? Close enough.”
Kobe Bryant reportedly attended church alongside his daughter the morning he died. He too, though one of the world’s biggest superstars, was mindful of his Creator and eternity. A good reminder to us all. As Isaac Newton once said, “He who thinks half-heartedly will not believe in God; but he who really thinks has to believe in God.”
Written by: Staff
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