On January 26th—on a foggy morning in the Los Angeles valley—we heard the sobering news that a Calabasas hillside took the souls of nine people. These individuals all left this Earth way too soon. They were bright lights extinguished in an unexpected way.
Two of these individuals were part of the Bryant family: Kobe and his daughter—Gianna. As the shock of this disaster remains fresh, this is when multiple tributes and key takeaways start rolling in all over social media and in the news when a celebrity is lost. This time becomes one of those few moments of authenticity in a society designed to be anything but anymore.
Kobe Bryant was a monster on the court. He won five NBA championships with the Lakers. His work ethic helped an 18-year-old prove he was more than a boy playing with men when he entered the league. His ride with Los Angeles wasn’t always easy. He had his failures along the way. Yet, he persevered. He welcomed those moments when the hater’s voices became elevated. He ended up creating “The Black Mamba” ethos that morphed into a motivational platform for athletes all over the world. Mamba Mentality became a thing—a big thing to a lot of folks looking for an edge to perform at a higher level in their crafts.
In remembrance, I’m not going to leave you with the top four takeaways from Kobe Bryant’s life. I am also not going to extract something from one of his quotes to help rationalize all of this. None of this makes sense, and it’s all too raw. I don’t want to write something that feels shallow.
I will leave you with two things. The first are two quotes from Kobe that I think speak for themselves. The second is the reason why all of this really hit home for me.
“We all can be masters of our craft, but you have to make a choice. What I mean by that is, there are inherent sacrifices that come along with that. Family time, hanging out with friends, being a great friend, being a great son, nephew, whatever the case may be. There are sacrifices that come along with making that decision.”
“My parents are my backbone. Still are. They’re the only group that will support you if you score zero or you score 40.”
Both of the quotes above hit home with me.
What really hits home is that I was born in 1978—the same year as Kobe. I have a very athletic 13-year-old son. Baseball is his game. Kobe had a thirteen-year-old daughter that was rising to the top of her craft. Her game was basketball.
Gianna’s light went out, yesterday.
I wanted to make sure that I hugged my son last night. I’m talking about a deep, deep hug. We talked about not taking any day for granted. We shared stories about past struggles and how to drive forward. We discussed that we have to make our mark every day and that we can’t assume that there is a tomorrow ahead of us to revisit our record. What we do today will be done forever.
It may be cliché, but each day is a gift. Just as Kobe was photographed teaching the game of basketball to his daughter, I love nothing more than passing along my knowledge of baseball to my son. We’ll be doing a lot more of that with every day that we are gifted ahead. In the wake of the news on January 26th, I hope that there are more good days ahead than bad ones for our relationship.
So, for you, friends of m4, please make sure to keep sharing your gifts. Keep providing the insights today that one day may be the words that others use to memorialize you. Continue to give back. Keep pushing to make today your most optimal day—even when you might not feel that optimal. Embrace the challenges in front of you. Work to be the best at your craft. And, most of all, hug those that you love deeply. Let them know how you feel. Life is fleeting. We all have a day in front of us when our number will be called. Whether it’s today, tomorrow or 40 years from now. Fight to make January 27th, and every day after, your best day. In Kobe’s memory, we all have work to do in our domain to leave things better than we found them.
Hug your families. Execute your plan. Let’s go. Our time is ticking.