Kobe Bryant, 1978-2020

Three days in a row this week I came across the name Kobe Bryant. Friday he was the subject of my tear-a-page desk calendar. Saturday I heard he would be courtside to see LeBron James pass him for third place on the NBA’s all-time scoring list.

I certainly did not expect him to be in the news Sunday for this.

Kobe Bryant, 20-year veteran of the league and five-time NBA champion, was killed in a helicopter crash outside Los Angeles Sunday morning.

He was 41.

By Sunday afternoon I could not find a site on the Internet that was not awash in Kobe news and tributes. (I can now add this site as well.) Bryant, of course, was a figure that transcended basketball, more than dabbling in movies, music, and children’s literature to name a few. It all started with basketball, of course, and if basketball made these other ventures possible so be it. Among other things he’s probably the only person in history to work with Spike Lee, Shaquille O’Neal, and John Williams.

When I was born Kobe Bryant was… three years old. That’s it. He had only a three-year head start on me. Somehow he played 20 years in the NBA and won an Oscar.

In his basketball career Kobe Bryant made something north of $300 million and way more than that on endorsements. A lot of it went to charity, benefitting afterschool programs, health and education programs here and overseas, and the Call of Duty Endowment, an organization that helps veterans transition to civilian careers after their military service has ended. He had his bad moments too, but one doesn’t dwell in an obituary. Sound good?

After all this you’re wondering what he was doing in my sports calendar Friday morning.

Which player scored the second-most number of points in an NBA game?

That was Kobe. Scored 81 in a game once in 2006. More than a decade later he put up 60 in his final NBA game.

You wish it could have gone on longer.

Kinda like life.

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About moc

My name is Mike O'Connell. I am 36 years old and live in Northern Virginia. I am a teacher, a musician, and an enthusiast of all things American.

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