The Baltimore Orioles yesterday joined the rest of the sports world (and the real world) in mourning the loss of former Los Angeles Laker great Kobe Bryant. As we all know, Bryant and his 13 year old daughter Gianna were tragically killed in a helicopter crash in California. Seven other people died in the accident.
This isn’t a baseball story. But as they say, some events rock the world. In fact, numerous MLB stars, including former Oriole Adam Jones, took to Twitter to mourn the loss of Bryant. Incidentally, you can draw a bit of a parallel with the tragic death of Roberto Clemente in this situation as well.
Speaking for myself, I had a “mixed relationship” with Kobe as a fan. And I say that in the sense that I never would have doubted his talent, nor would I have disagreed with the statement that he defined a generation of the NBA. However in my mind he was taking the place of Michael Jordan, Larry Bird, and Magic Johnson. And I wasn’t okay with that! However he proved that he belonged in the same sentence with those guys, and he proved to be the absolute best ambassador to the game of his era. His loss will be felt throughout basketball, and the entire sports world.
And was eleven years old in 1992 when the Dream Team won Olympic Gold. But USA basketball was in steady decline from that point onward. Kobe Bryant was on the team that restored Olympic Gold to Team USA. And he did it twice. So speaking for myself I’ll always remember and appreciate that.
At the end of the day, however, alone Bryant was someone’s husband, father, and son. His family is more affected by this than anyone. My thoughts are certainly with them, and with all who knew and loved the late Kobe and Gianna Bryant.