Like so many of us, I was paralyzed when I heard about the passing of NBA legend, Kobe Bryant. Images of his athletic genius flooded my mind. Whether it was elevating to ungodly heights enroute to a perfectly executed layup, razzling and dazzling the defense with his elusive fluidity on the court, or simply viewing the raw emotion, pure joy he derived from the game, I was mesmerized watching his play. As an athlete myself, I saw everything in him: dedication, hard work, perseverance, passion that I could only hope to emulate.
However, despite all of his athletic laurels, and believe me they were countless, even iconic-like, all of them paled in comparison to how I felt when I saw the way he looked at his daughters and they at him. I too had that kind of special, unforgettable bond with my father, and can spot it instantly. It’s the look shared between a parent and a child that merits no words; all the emotion, feeling, LOVE, exists in the eyes and the smile. It’s a bond whose depth cannot be measured, only felt; refined with genuine time, respect and trust. It’s everything in a way nothing else ever can be.
As we remember one of basketball’s greatest players of all time this week, we are bound to think of those infamous slam dunks, the dribbling finesse, the 18 All-Star Game appearances, and the soon-to be Hall of Fame induction. However, let us not forget the other Kobe: the father, the family man, the hero off the court to four young girls. The man who took the precious time to be a loving role model, be in their life any way he could-opting for helicopter commute to save priceless moments, share his passions with them, teach them right, hold them tight, and simply look at them in that indescribable way only a parent can, letting them know they are truly special and loved.
That’s the stuff legends are made of….
Jennifer Warren is a freelance journalist and regular contributor to THE HUDSON VALLEY PRESS who wanted to do something to express how the passing of Kobe Bryant affected her and help keep his memory, as well as his daughter Gianna, and all the passengers (and pilot) on board the helicopter who tragically lost their lives Monday, memories alive.