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Posted under: Opinion

The Lesson That Kobe Bryant’s Death Is Teaching Us

Life itself is the shortest journey of them all ...

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On January 26, the world quite literally stopped when news broke of the untimely death of one of the greatest basketball players ever. While on his way to a basketball practice with his daughter, Gianna Bryant, Kobe Bryant, and everyone else onboard his private helicopter, perished when it crashed in Calabasas, California.

Whether you loved Kobe or hated him, we should all be able to agree that it's incredibly woeful that now his wife, Vanessa Bryant, not only has to bury her husband — but her daughter, too. Oftentimes when we think of the word “legacy,” the ideas of accolades, titles and material possessions come to mind. I, too, was guilty of this thinking until I received word of Kobe’s passing. It is certainly true that Kobe was one of the most decorated players of the NBA. Being a five-time NBA championship winner and the first guard to play 20 seasons in the NBA, it’s no secret that Kobe was a living legend. All that being said, I feel as if his legacy transcends his career.

His true legacy is the beautiful family that he was blessed to build with his wife of almost 20 years. In a world that encourages the prioritization of finding one’s self through how much money we have or which titles are attached to our name, Kobe is the ultimate example of how important it is to place value on our loved ones. Last September, during the press run for his young adult novel, Legacy and the Queen, Kobe admitted that the inspiration behind the children’s book was his daughters. “It’s important that they see characters that look like them,” he reasoned for creating the story, one that will likely inspire and empower the next generation of women athletes to be the best that they can be.

And his marriage with Vanessa provided an astounding display of love against a backdrop of so much negativity that plagues all celebrity couples. I believe their legacy of love will continue to encourage other NBA couples, young and old, to keep pushing and loving one another.

There are so many of us in deep mourning right now and it’s important that we take this time to reflect on what we want our legacies to be when we depart this earth.

Beyoncé once said, "I have a lot of awards and I have a lot of these things that are amazing and I worked my ass off. I worked harder than probably anyone I know to get those things.” She continued, “But nothing feels like my child saying, 'Mommy!' Nothing feels like when I look my husband in the eyes.”

Life itself is the shortest journey of them all, so do what you love and love what you do — you never know when it’s your time.

My deepest condolences to the Bryant family.

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A Detroit native, Kenneth 'Kenny' Williams Jr. is a self-described cultural critic and visual storyteller. While at Michigan State University, Kenneth received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications and went on to obtain his Master of Arts degree in Public Relations. Kenneth's passions include pop culture, writing, and using his skill sets to actively and positively promote the narratives of Black people and Black culture. Interested in seeing more from Kenneth? Follow him on Medium at https://medium.com/@kennethwilliams310