By Luis Quintanilla
On a small scale, most people will go about their lives and battle their own battles in the confines of their own world, much of their struggle not readily apparent to an outside viewer. Very rarely will a tragedy transcend that bubble and reverberate through a culture and its people. On January 26, 2020 the world received a stunning blow with the death of Kobe Bryant, someone revered as a legend, icon, and hero by many.
The world seemingly stopped for a day. One could not go on any media without seeing the tragic news of the death of nine people in a helicopter crash. Sadly, alongside Kobe was his daughter, her teammates along with their parents, the pilot, and other coaches. Accidents happen everyday in every part of the globe, and people, humans we will most likely never know, tragically lose their lives in these accidents. Perhaps you have experienced this close to home once so you understand the devastating blow this can have an a person, or maybe you have been fortunate enough to have been blind to it.
With a death like Kobe, it is difficult to swallow and accept. Many grew up watching him do what he did and loved best. Even for those who didn’t follow basketball closely, the purple and yellow jersey stamped with the number 24 and 8 were sure to remind one of the name Kobe Bryant. His name could be mentioned in almost any conversation in today’s culture and people would know exactly know the name no matter his or her interest.
This reach, this ability to be renowned is what perhaps made his death much more tragic. We tend to not think of accidents like this at the front door, often presuming we will make it to tomorrow, but in the case of Kobe we were reminded that no one is an exception to life and its unpredictability. A legend and icon was here one day and gone the next.
Celebrity deaths always shock the news for a couple days and subside after a while, but in the case of Kobe the sheer unpredictable nature of the accident stunned everyone who admired him. This should serve as a reminder to keep in mind the unpredictability of life, and to hold on to our worlds and the people in it a little closer in the face of that. To be grateful for everyday you wake up or make it home safely, something we truly take for granted.
One did not have to be a basketball fan to admire Kobe. He was by no means a perfect being worth worshipping on one’s knees, but nonetheless can serve as an inspiration to us all in whatever it is we choose to do. His drive to be the best in what he did can inspire us to never stop pushing until we achieve our goals and whatever dreams we may hold. To become the best at what we do.
Jimmy Kimmel, in a monologue dedicated to Kobe after his passing, said basketball was far from the most important thing on this planet. For Kobe to become so renowned from simply picking up a round brown ball and throwing it into some hoops showcases how significant his impact on today’s culture was. Perhaps his legacy goes beyond that finding its roots in his character and his dedication to his family.
This editorial is not entirely relevant to Vol State’s affairs, but I felt was nonetheless important to mention after the tragedy of the Calabasas helicopter crash. It is important to note that Kobe was not the only one who lost his life that day. His daughter Gianna, her teammate Alyssa Altobeli and her parents John and Keri Altobeli,coach Christina Mauser, Sarah and her daughter Payton Chester, and pilot Ara Zobayan all tragically were lost in the crash as well. Their families must now grapple with the fact that their loved ones were alive in the morning, and did not make it home for dinner.
In the same monologue by Kimmel , he stated, “ I know this might not make sense but he was just the last person you could ever imagine something like this happening to.” To this day it is hard to believe how quickly he was here one day and gone the next. Again, these accidents happen everyday both to people whose names we will never personally know and sometimes to those close to home. Kobe’s death does not exalt him or make him more important, but his renown in our culture made his death especially shocking and hard to accept. It is a reminder that all of us, no matter our wealth, fame, or legacy, are ultimately subject to the unpredictability of life. Again, this should slap us awake into holding the world and the people important to us a little bit tighter everyday we get the chance to wake up, because many people did not get to see today, and no one is guaranteed tomorrow.