Why Kobe Bryant’s Passing Hits Me Differently

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In my 23 years of living, I’ve never experienced loss such as this. Celebrities have passed away in my time aware of the world but there was something about losing Kobe Bryant that brought me to a range of emotions. Maybe it was the suddenness. Or the severity or the situation. Maybe it’s the fact that I’ve been a basketball fan for most of my life and I saw Kobe at his athletic apex and and as he moved into retirement. All I know is that this hit differently.

I learned about his passing as I was on the phone with my social media manager Kroix. I’ve become aware of who I am and how I handle grief. So, I knew that the range of emotions was coming. I knew that I didn’t want to be alone to process the passing of someone that inspired the very fabric of why I decided to do Pulse full time and make sacrifices to get where I need to be. That time on the phone with Kroix was therapeutic. i was able to share and let out the anger that I felt at how social media muddied the severity of the situation with misinformation and clout chasing click-bait. We were able to even fire back at it and show tribute to the life and legacy of Kobe.

I tried to stand tall through it all and spend time with my family. I felt as if I would be able to cope with how I was feeling by tending to life as usual but things changed once I saw the reaction of LeBron James. LeBron is my favorite athlete of all time and someone that I look up to. I wondered how he would respond to this, if he’d say do anything on Sunday at all. Then, I saw the video of LeBron leaving the Lakers team plane after they arrived in Los Angeles. I saw the raw emotion that he felt. I could see the weight of the pain that he was carrying.

I had to get off of social media. All my plans for the postings of the day for A Queen’s Series and HBCU Pulse were pushed up. I tried to find a way to make myself feel better. I reached out to people via phone and FaceTime and they wouldn’t answer. All I knew was that I didn’t want to be alone in how I felt. Yet, I woke up this morning feeling exactly that. The range of emotions hit me hard.

Seeing the graphic above made me feel better. It made me understand that this was normal. When I saw “Find a supportive online community” I knew that I had to speak my piece on HBCU Pulse. I couldn’t hold this in. If communication is so central to me, I needed to share my feelings with the world. Maybe I could help someone get through this.

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As a basketball fan and a man that wants to build a family one day, this loss hurt me to my soul. I had to grapple with the fact that life, as my Dad always tell me, is unfair. Yet I still asked: how can someone so impactful to the this world leave us like this? I know, for me, Kobe showed me that through hard work and a passion for what you do you can change the world. Even before his passing, I identified with Kobe and his Mamba Mentality.

My goal through it all is to affect the HBCU community and black people in general. When I say I’m the Millenial Tom Joyner I’m so serious. I just want to make an impact and inspire people like Kobe and Tom Joyner have done. That’s why going to Atlanta and Honda Battle of the Bands meant so much to me. I feel as if I’m starting to make the change and impact I’ve always wanted and felt sometimes I couldn’t.

This is why moments such as the one above with Future Spelman Woman Courtney meant to much to me. Going to this college fair inspired me so much. We should all aim to make an impact on people before our time on the earth has concluded. However, I believe that we miss the mark in our own personal lives. We aim to inspire those in the world yet our friends and family are often times neglected. The passing of Kobe brought me to deep reflection about life and how precious every moment we have with each other is important.

You never know the impact that you’re making, even on the people you see in your daily life. Check on your people man. You don’t know how important a FaceTime call or random pop-up means to someone. You don’t owe anyone anything, especially strangers. But, what about the people we care about? What about the people we’re inspired by? Why wouldn’t you cherish the time with the people you love and make time for them? Life is too short and you don’t know what people are going through. We gotta communicate. You never know when our time will come and you’ll miss the opportunity to build with the people important to your life.

I hope everyone has a great and safe day. Make your impact on the world the way that Kobe did and lock in. Don’t let anything stop you from getting where you need to be. That’s what Mamba Mentality means to me.

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