Rest in Paradise
On January 13th, 2020, I only had ONE thing in mind when posting about Kobe Bryant: pay homage to a man who played a significant role in my latter teen - early adulthood years. I wanted to sincerely poke fun at how I attempted to emulate him every chance I could. How I'd purchase (and save) every magazine where he and his once infamous afro were featured. How I'd watch every interview conducted; zeroing in on his mannerisms and the way he'd conduct himself. But what I wanted you to get most out of that piece was my overall enthusiasm once finding out Bryant was one of several names mentioned for the 2020 Basketball Hall of Fame. Little did I know on January 26th, a mere thirteen days from that post, Bryant, his thirteen year-old daughter Gianna, along with seven other passengers would be involved in a horrific helicopter crash over the hills of Calabasas, CA, killing all on board, devastating families, the sports world, legions of fans, and anyone with a heart.
My eyes have poured out real tears for several days now. At times, I can't help myself. In fact, my vision is quite blurred as I type - aimlessly staring at the photo above, fighting through an overwhelming feeling of emotion. Just when I think I can overcome the sadness, my mind wanders back to that Sunday morning when I received the distressing text about the incident, or I catch myself going down that rabbit hole of watching clip after clip of Kobe's peers - grown men - pouring their eyes out uncontrollably. This f*cking hurts.
I thought long and hard on whether I should even touch this story. It has made me considerably uncomfortable and the turn of events have been extremely eerie. Just think, it was only a couple of weeks ago where I was singing Kobe's praises, now here I am talking about his death. What?! Can I Be Ernest? is supposed to be a feel good blog. The reader should arrive here with full anticipation of a laugh, reminisce about the good ol' days, or sometimes both - not grieve. Was there some type of glitch in the matrix? This can't be happening. As a writer, it is my personal duty to TYPE: today, tomorrow, next week, so on and so forth. Whether this blog gets read by one set of eyes or thousands, it is imperative that I continue. Writing has proven to be therapeutic to many - a life saver to me. I need this outlet.
Yes, death is an intricate part of life and I completely get it. I lost my grandmother of 93 years back in September. There isn't a day that goes by where she isn't thought of. Admittedly, even at 93, I selfishly wanted her to live forever. But I understand 93 years is quite the accomplishment. Sadly, Bryant, 41, Gianna, 13 and the others on board were cheated at life. I don't think I can feel otherwise.
Both Bryant and his daughter were at the cusp of transitioning to that next level: Kobe, post-NBA as a devoted husband, father, entrepreneur, Academy Award winner, author, coach/mentor; Gianna, as a superb 8th grade basketball sensation who was possibly on the verge of becoming a highly sought after student-athlete. It is well documented how Gianna took on her father's 'Mamba Mentality' - perhaps she would've accomplished the unthinkable at all levels - H.S., college, pros - becoming one of the premier athletes of the country. Unfortunately, we will never find that out. The thought alone crushes me.
I can't fathom the pain Kobe's wife, Vanessa, is experiencing. Imagine losing your spouse AND child on the same day. She now bares the responsibility of explaining this to their three beautiful girls. Not to be forgotten, the unimaginable sting involving the remaining family members of the other victims on board). My goodness! This story is about as bad as it gets.
The NBA All-Star Weekend begins in a few weeks and undoubtedly, there will be a monumental ceremony commemorating Kobe Bryant's life. Over the years, I've watched less and less of the all-star festivities and I plan to continue that trend. No way will I allow myself to become a spectator of a packed arena in complete silence without a dry eye in sight. No thanks. After experiencing a few heartbreaks in 2019, I think my eyes, mind, heart and soul could use a much needed break.
Words have escaped me so I will cut this post short - R.I.P. Kobe & Gianna Bryant and the other victims lost on that tragic day 🙏🏾