Remember Kobe Bryant’s Family

By now, you’ve heard. Nine people died in a horrific helicopter crash. From a Mets perspective, OCC Baseball coach John Altobelli, a former coach of Jeff McNeil, died in the crash along with his wife and daughter. Sadly, their deaths along with the others onboard were overshadowed because Kobe Bryant was also aboard.

Even worse, Kobe’s daughter, Gianna, was also aboard.

Kobe’s post basketball life was just beginning, and his 13 year daughter’s basketball career had yet to truly begin. Of course, both Bryants were more than that. Kobe was a son, husband, father, and of course a Laker. His daughter robbed of her life at such a young age was a daughter, sister, and friend.

They leave behind Vanessa, Natalia, Bianka, and Capri. Capri, being a newborn, will go through life not knowing her father or sister. Her three year old sister Bianka will at best have fleeting memories.

That’s heartbreaking. Really, all of it, is. When you sit down and think about it, it’s too much to bear.

Therein lies the biggest tragedy of all. While sports fans and fellow athletes talk about the profound impact Kobe had on their lives, Kobe is not going to have that profound impact on the lives of two people who meant most to him – his two youngest daughters. It’s all the worse seeing how involved and how loving a father Kobe was:

Since people have brought it up, his youngest daughters will only know of Kobe what people tell them, and eventually what they read on the internet. Eventually, they will come across the events in Colorado which some people were very quick to point out in the wake of his passing.

This is an undeniable part of Kobe’s legacy, but he’s not going to be there to answer to his children about it. Instead, much like when the news broke, it will be Vanessa by herself trying to make sense of it all. That’s just another level of cruelty to all of this.

It’s all on her now to both handle these things alone, but also to keep the memory alive. Not just the basketball, but the man, the complicated man.

The man who was taught many lessons along the way, learned from them, and urged people to be better. He was also one of the biggest proponents of the women’s game.

More than that, he was a dad. He’s not going to be there for Natalia’s prom, or as she soon goes off to college. He won’t be there to meet her future spouse and dance at her wedding. He’s also not there right now to hug her and help her through the loss of her sister and father, or to help her find her role in the family now that he’s gone.

Kobe and Gianna are gone, and there are four women left to find a way to live their lives without them. While we all mourn and look for ways to honor him, they’re grief stricken and left to find a way to carry on with him. In the end, while we’re all impacted, this is about them.

While we all will eventually move on, they will forever have to deal with the pain, pain we all hope we may never have run experience. As parents, hug your children a little tighter today, and let your loved ones know just how much they mean to you.

As for the Bryant’s, may God bless them and help them through their pain.