Kobe Bryant

Tom Dougherty, CEO – Stealing Share

27 January 2020

Why the death of Kobe Bryant hits so hard

I’ll admit I have complicated feelings about Kobe Bryant. But today’s not the time to go over the positives and negatives. Let’s just say he was one of the few NBA superstars who elicited both highly intensive positive and negative emotions.

Occasionally, at the same time.

kobe bryantI also don’t know if the NBA should’ve played games on Sunday. I can see the argument either way. I did tune in briefly to the Celtics-Pelicans game last night (mostly, to watch Zion). But it looked a little listless, and so was my concentration on it.

But whatever your feelings about Kobe Bryant (and I think most of us held complicated ones), yesterday’s helicopter crash was without a doubt tragic by any definition. He died at the young age of 41, along with his daughter and seven other people whose names we will learn soon.

While taking their daughters to a basketball game.

A few other thoughts crossed my mind later in the day. There, is of course, the video of Kobe Bryant court side with his daughter that demonstrated his love of being a dad.

“My point is that maybe one reason the death of Kobe Bryant hits us so hard is because, at least in sports, we’re used to our true superstars growing old. Dale Earnhardt is the only other one I can remember with a young, shocking death.”

Kobe Bryant a rarity in so many ways

He was also the first NBA megastar whose career spans the birth and rise of the internet and social media. It wasn’t until LeBron and Tiger that we came across an athlete so uncovered. So his death feels very personal, for that reason.

But sports has also gotten lucky. While there have been tragically young deaths in sports history, I’m trying to remember when a true superstar was cut down so early in life other than Kobe Bryant.

Think about the NBA. Today, it’s filled with previous superstars mourning the death of Kobe Bryant. Jordan, Dr. J and Kareem all shared their thoughts. Bill Russell, who last played in the NBA more than 50 years ago, weighed in.

My point is that maybe one reason the death of Kobe Bryant hits us so hard is because, at least in sports, we’re used to our true superstars growing old. Dale Earnhardt is the only other one I can remember with a young, shocking death.

I may have forgotten someone but the point still stands. Kobe Bryant was a rarity in life, on the basketball court and also in his passing. They were shocking all around.

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