When I saw the news break I thought it was one of those celebrity fake news death hoaxes. When I began to realize the news wasn’t fake and shared a media report on my Facebook timeline, one of my friends had the same reaction “This is a JOKE RIGHT!!???”
But it wasn’t a joke. Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna (she was 13 or 14), alongside others died in a fiery helicopter crash.
It’s just sort of inconceivable. He was only 41. And he came from the area I called home for decades, Lower Merion Township.
I am not some giant professional sports fan as my friends and family will all tell you and laugh. It’s just not me. But even I followed Kobe Bryant because he went straight from Lower Merion High School to being a professional basketball player. If you lived in Lower Merion Township , his career was always just kind of part of all of us because he grew up here for a while.
We all loved the prom photos years ago. He took Brandy and they just looked so cute together:
That is a screenshot I found on Google. You didn’t often have a high school kid with a bona fide celebrity prom date. It was a lovely prom fairy tale even for grow ups. After all when you are in high school you always want your prom to be something magical, right?
I kind of would follow him via my local paper (Main Line Times/Main Line Media News) because long time news photographer Pete Bannan covered him throughout the years. (Click here to check out the photos on Main Line Media News.)
Kobe Bryant was also always generous to his alma mater Lower Merion High School. He donated over $400,000 to the new high school gym around 2010. He made the gym dedication into this really cool event.
There is a video snippet of the helicopter going down. I will admit I don’t like helicopters. They scare me.
At least some of Kobe’s family still live in the Philadelphia area.
Life is so short and precious as we are reminded once again. Like millions of others, I didn’t know Kobe Bryant. But he was from where I used to live. He never forgot that which I respect enormously. He was generous and gave back.
Read this column in the Philadelphia Inquirer. I kind of loved it. And don’t take life for granted.
So where were you? What were you doing when that sickening trickle of news started to drip, drip, drip into your mind and heart? Kobe Bryant … dead? That can’t be. Kobe is strong. Kobe is always smiling…So now, do me a favor, and do yourself a favor, and do someone you love a favor. If you’re reading this, shut off your phone, close your laptop, or put the paper down. Go to your wife or your husband, or your mother or your father, or most of all your son or your daughter, and give him a hug. Give her a hug. Call them. Visit them. Tell them you love them.