It didn't feel real getting the tweets popping up on Twitter as I sat at Brewers on Deck, scrolling through my phone and seeing all the reactions. TMZ first reported on it, and I thought it was a hoax; It wouldn't have been the first time they falsely reported a death. But, once the officials started confirming, it really started to feel real.
Even if you didn't grow up a basketball fan, you knew who Kobe Bryant was. Everyone did. You probably were one of the kids that would shout "KOBE!" as you threw your garbage in the can. I admit I'm guilty of that. Although I couldn't play basketball to save my life, shooting free throws here and there and trying to get Kobe's steps down was something I picture almost any kid doing as they grew up.
Younger kids don't really know the Kobe that the 'older' generations know. They know the Kobe Bryant, retired Los Angeles Laker who had an amazing daughter that was following in his footsteps. The Kobe that I knew growing up, was the basketball legend, surpassing Michael Jordan in all-time points scored, the 18-time NBA All-Star, 5-time championship winner, MVP, and overall great human being.
Growing up, I watched basketball, but I wasn't one who religiously watched it. I tried my hand at playing it, but my heart fell to cheerleading, but even as an athlete in general, watching how Kobe performed and saw his strong work ethic made me push myself to be a greater person and a better athlete. Even if you didn't watch basketball, you took what Kobe did in his life to make himself the legend he is, and put that into your work ethic, and strive to be the greatest.
Once I started to see athletes such as Christian Yelich checking his phone and seeing the news of Kobe's passing, it spread quickly throughout the Brewers' fan-fest, and you could tell the mood changed drastically. Twitter became a place of mourning and sadness. My heart broke. Not only for the fans of Kobe and the Lakers but those who lost their loved ones.
Among the crash, Kobe Bryant, his 13-year old daughter Gianna, baseball coach John Altobelli, his wife Keri Altobelli, daughter Alyssa Altobelli, Christina Mauser, Sarah Chester and her daughter Payton Chester, and pilot Ara Zobayan were taken tragically from us. There isn't a lot of details regarding the crash, but we know that 9 lives were taken from us and their families. My heart breaks for Vanessa and the three girls Kobe left behind. Imagine having to find out your loved one passed through social media because TMZ reported on the death before any authority got to announcing the devastating news.
Out of respect, the Lakers/Clippers game scheduled for Tuesday, January 28th, has been postponed. Fans might be upset about this, but, it's the right thing to do. It's what Kobe would've wanted us to do. Give the NBA and the Lakers time to mourn the loss of such an incredible athlete and a charismatic person.
Members of the NBA such as Dwayne Wade, Giannis Antetokounmpo, and almost every team has made a statement in regards to losing Bryant and the other 8 lost on Sunday. It was a tough day in basketball, no one expected this to happen so soon, let alone in such a tragic way. Teams have been honoring Bryant by taking 8-second and 24-second clock violations, remembering the two numbers he wore on his back as a Los Angeles Laker.
My thoughts and prayers are with the Bryant family, the Altobelli family, the Chester family, and the Zobayan family as they mourn this extremely difficult loss. May the victims rest in peace, and may Gigi and Kobe continue to shoot some hoops up there.