The news of Kobe Bryant’s death has hit me a little harder than I expected.
You see, I grew up a fan of the Chicago Bulls, during the era of Jordan. So by the time Kobe started to make an impact on the NBA, I wasn’t really watching basketball anymore nor following any specific player’s career.
But a couple of months ago, I read a book called Relentless by Tim Grover. In that book, he talks about coaching Kobe. I found that I started to have a different kind of appreciation for Kobe’s passion and dedication, especially the way he was able to get things done.
When I saw the Instagram post from Gary Vee about Kobe’s death, it hit me really weird. And as I saw all the different posts and news stories come in about the crash, his daughter and the all others who also lost their lives in the accident, I found myself a bit at a loss.
I have a lot of friends in California so I started seeing all their social media feeds fill up with things about Kobe. And a really close friend of my mine went to the Staples Center and sent pictures and videos of the memorial and gathering that was happening around the arena.
So I wake up this morning and I head to the gym. And I’m not feeling it today. I’m on day 27 of 75 Hard Phase 1 and I’m tired. Its was a rough week at work last week and I’m barely catching up on sleep. So I’m debating with myself if I’m going to lift weights or just take it easy a bit and ride the elliptical.
Most of the TVs in the gym are showing ESPN and all the tributes to Kobe. They are showing the NBA games with the moments of silence and players holding back tears. They show teams taking shot clock violations in honor of Kobe. They show footage from the Pro Bowl where a handful of players celebrate a sack by mimicking Kobe’s fade away shot. They show a soccer player hitting a penalty goal and holding up the number 24 with his fingers towards the camera.
All that footage really started to get to me. So as I’m stretching out and still debating which workout I’m going to do, I hear this voice in my head say, “Look at you. You don’t want to get after it today. I bet you Kobe would.” And that’s all it took. I knew what needed to be done. Whatever it takes.
Throughout my workout, I’m holding back tears and I’m thinking about the legacy and impact that he’s left on this world. I’m thinking about the fact that the guy was only a year younger than me. And look what’s he’s been able to do with his life in the short time he had in this world.
Kobe’s life is another realization that greatness doesn’t happen with the game winning shot at the NBA finals. Greatness happens each and every day that leads to that shot. It happens in the commitments you make and keep to yourself and your discipline to get it done. It happens in the dark, away from the lights and the cameras – in the cold and heat – rain and snow. It happens when you show up even when there’s no one there to cheer you on.
Every game winning shot Kobe ever made, he had already made thousands of times before. It was always just another shot for him. And all that work, through all the years, is what made him one of the greatest ever.
Legacy, impact, and value is something I’m always thinking about for my own life. It gives me focus and makes me intentional with everything that I do. I don’t just let life happen to me anymore. Neither did Kobe. If this tragedy teaches us anything its that we have to keep getting after it because you never know when the universe is going to take it away.
My heart goes out to all the families affected by this horrible accident. I hope that they find peace and healing during this painful time.
Kobe…. I’m sorry that I didn’t fully appreciate your greatness during your life. But know that, in your death, I’m now a student of your legacy and example. Thank you for the positive impact that you had on this world.
And like your coach Tim Grover said, “Rest in Peace, Cleaner.”
Photo credit: Wendy Mora Tapia