There is an old saying, before you can be something, you must first believe that. Believe it to an extent that its almost delusional.
Kobe was that.
From the moment he stepped on to the NBA court as a teenager, from the moment he was a mere shadow of a player he would turn out to be, from the moment he was nothing more then a new hot shot, he believed that he was the best damn basketball player the world has ever seen.
This unflinching belief to conquer the world of Basketball served as the foundation of his team and individual success over the next 20 years.
As I hear of his untimely, unforeseen, premature and unfortunate demise, my thoughts have digressed to a different perspective, one which you gain as you grow older.
The thoughts that affect me are that of his unfinished and unfulfilled promises as a father.
Ofcouse if I had heard this when I was a 20 something bloke, I would have rattled on about his basketball prowess and how he had the ability to conjure the forces to turn any match in his favor. Almost at will. Relentless competitor. Fearless champion. Olympian. Legend!
But I hear about it as a father to a daughter. That changes everything. In a sense it lends a much broader perspective and insight into how your loved ones feel when you are gone
Being a father to a daughter and the way I feel and worry about her, I choke to even imagine the situation as their last one together.
That is what I feel most strongly about and that is what I want to vent about.
I am immediately reminded of Migrant Oscar Martinez Ramirez and his 23 month old daughter Valeria who tragically died last month after a huge wave of Rio Grande swept them away leaving them dead.
The graphic picture that surfaced from the tragedy shows the toddler tucked into her father’s shirt and was seen wearing red shorts and tiny shoes. The appearance of the embrace between father and daughter is quintessential to the bond that they share and with which I can personally relate. Such images enter our subconscious almost under the radar and then they have an impact which does not wither away easily.
Just as he placed the little Valeria on the U.S. side and turned back to get his wife, the little one gave into her most natural instincts. And that was to follow her father wherever he went.
It did not matter that it was the ever-dangerous Rio Grande or some other deadly path. She jumped behind her father and when Oscar saw this, he had to turn back midstream and midway to grab her. This was the end for them.
Forget Kobe, the hoop star for a while or Kobe the giant in the purple vest. I want to talk about Kobe, the proud father of his four daughters. I know how the bond is and how it feels to be a father to a little daughter. The whole thought about the fatherly instinct’s changes, once you have a daughter in your life.
Fathers add a mix to the air every time they step on the scene, that daughter starts gravitating towards them initially without realizing it and later intentionally.
Have you ever had a hug from someone that is barely a hug as per the adult standard but feels so warm and fills your heart with joy? You suddenly feel that its all the love you need in this world. Well that is the hug you get from your daughter.
That is what daughters do. They tame the ferocious inside us fathers the moment they come into our life. I imagine Kobe’s daughters softened him that same way. His relationship with them certainly helped shape the way we perceived him. He was a doting dad to Gianna Maria-Onore Bryant, Bianka Bella Bryant, Natalia Diamante Bryant and Capri Kobe Bryant.
When the news broke on Sunday, I as a father felt more vulnerable than ever and I could only feel the uncertainty that surround us and turns our life upside down. That is the real scoop here.
A father and daughter spending their last moments together in a horror filled situation. I can only imagine what Kobe did as the chopper came crashing down. He would have tried his level best to embrace his little one and protect her from the impact.
But it does not end there. The effects like deep reverberations extend to the remaining family. A wife who lost her husband, a mother who lost her daughter and the girls losing their sister. It’s not just the death of a celebrity, it’s much more.
As a father and as a philanthropist, Kobe was just getting started. Like the Bryant Family Foundation which was one of Kobe Bryant’s most impactful philanthropic works which he started with his wife, Vanessa Laine Bryant focused on helping improve the lives of young people and families. The foundation gives scholarships and operates Mamba FC, a youth soccer club that teaches young athletes how to be leaders and independent thinkers through sports.
But that will go on.
What will be incomplete are the memories of a father seeing his daughters growing up, creating memories that will last a lifetime, go places with them and help them out as they push and trudge through life, be their go to person whenever they are in trouble and most importantly just being there as a pillar.
That is what I grieve today. Not Kobe the author. Kobe the visionary. Kobe the thinker. Kobe the coach or Kobe the producer.
But Kobe the father.
As he gave us so many memories on the basketball court, his death is more relatable as a father to 4 daughters. It’s a shocking reminder of the unpredictability of life which keep reminding us to hold our loved ones tighter then ever.