This day still haunts my soul.
Every time I reflect back on where I was, what I was doing, what I was listening to, how I felt.. Anything that has to do with this moment of that day gives me a certain feeling of disgust and sadness that I don’t think I could feel in any other situation.
Not that it was the most tragic thing we as people will ever experience, not at all really. It wasn’t someone we knew personally or had a constant relationship and communication with. Yet, for some reason, the moments on this day just one year ago will always feel like the moment time stopped. It felt like a moment where nothing seemed normal, it felt like a world couldn’t be right anymore.
January 26th, 2020 was the beginning of the battle.
At approximately 9:05am on that brutal day, NBA Legend Kobe Bryant, his 13 year old daughter Gianna and seven other people lost their lives when a helicopter taking them to their routine basketball academy, crashed into a California hillside.
There are still so many questions, questions that feel will never be answered and even if they were, it doesn’t change any of the horrific facts.
The single worst tragedy to a sporting figure to ever occur.
Heart and soul. pic.twitter.com/llXeknzfYf
— SLAM Rewind (@SLAMRewind) January 26, 2021
From my perspective, I couldn’t really explain how my mind felt in that moment. Driving down the highway in Maple Ridge, BC and hearing the news get broke over the radio. Any and all social media channels were fully absorbed by this. Every television network you can think of had the news on the TV, it was a moment that can not be removed from the minds of so many due to its overwhelming sorrow.
Basketball has always been one of my fondest past times. Playing recreationally for 4 years made me realize how much potential the game has and what it can provide you in life. A game of teamwork, hard work and detailed fundamentals, Basketball is a sport that teaches you a lot of things about unity and passion.
For me, there is no one even close to inspiring or driving me more towards anything in life, than Kobe did to me with Basketball.
He was just the coolest guy ever, on the court and off of it. His style and stature was second to none, the way he played and the way he looked doing it. Kobe was an enigma.
For the kids that grew up in my generation, it was the era of Kobe. The purple and gold of the LA Lakers and their culture of winning. Everything that number 24 did was closely followed and mimicked. Before my first season of High School Basketball in eight grade, I looked up videos on YouTube of Kobe showing people how to do his famous “fadeaway” jumper.
After watching one of these videos as a little kid entering his first year of high school, this was the only inspiration I had, or needed. I remember immediately doing to my shoe closet to grab a pair of my dads runners, pretending that they were the coolest Kobe Basketball shoes on Earth. I ran outside and although it was already dark out, I just started shooting the ball over and over again in my neighbours driveway, the only hoop on my street.
The power of Kobe Bryant truly hit differently. The way he was able to connect to anybody was true to who he was, the best influencer you could ever envision.
Being one of the best Basketball players ever was one thing, that was the easy part to Kobe, but he wants and needed to go deeper to fulfill the goals he had set for himself. He wanted to make sure everyone knew he was the hardest worker at his craft you will ever see, and he is.
It was so infectious to his fan base, too. People that were fans of Kobe typically had the mindset that they were going to work their hardest at whatever they did. They became leaders instead of followers and made it known. They didn’t pass and shot a lot, but that’s just who they wanted to be, it was just like Kobe Bryant.
On January 26th of last year, things changed forever. The way people viewed their lives and their love ones will never been the same. Life is just too unpredictable and time should never be taken for granted while we are here, this is a prime example of what it feels like to lose something that truly made us better.
I miss you, hermano… pic.twitter.com/Wd2MdT1JZ0
— Pau Gasol (@paugasol) January 26, 2021
The terror of feeling that way again is what people should fear. Losing innocent young girls to a terrible accident, families torn apart forever, it was a tall task to recover and move forward, on that day it seemed so unlikely.
Slowly, the world has been moving forward.
The Lakers captured their 17th Championship in franchise history last season, their first since Kobe was the Finals MVP of it.
Kobe’s widow, Vanessa does all she can to keep people updated on her well being, and though she expresses how hurt and lost she is in her recovery at times, it is also a fuelling way to cope when she is posting photos with her daughters, and her friends.
NBA players have shown their respects over theist year to the legend of Kobe. Remembering how on the day of the news, players were forced to play out their set scheduled games, battling all emotions and trauma, but they did it in his name.
I see a lot of Kobe in players like Devin Booker of the Suns, and Donovan Mitchell of the Jazz. Young players who clearly grew up in a similar era as myself, idolizing none other than the Black Mamba.
Devin Booker honoring Kobe with a 'Be Legendary' tattoo that he signed on his shoes in 2016 🐍♾ pic.twitter.com/CMGw75UJo9
— LakeShowYo (@LakeShowYo) March 4, 2020
As I use this day to reflect back on the impact that Kobe has had on mine and millions of lives around the world, I feel as if I am speaking directly to him. I wish I could tell him one time that I am thankful that he never passed to anybody, because it was so addicting to watch him score and score and score. I wish I could say another ‘thank you’ for showing me what it takes to be the best at something, and how hard I have to work.
If there is ever a day where my endless questions get answered about everything that has happened since a year ago, I hope that I am able to come to peace with the young Basketball fan inside of my soul, and let him know that these things happen for a reason.
Until then, I will continue to do whatI can to remember all the moments that made me obsess over this Basketball player in the first place, and cherish the things that made me love the person even more.
Evan Power, Evolution 107.9
8 / 24.