Source: Brace Hemmelgarn / USA TODAY Sports
Wow. What else is there to say?
It was an expression I'm sure millions of people around the world said in unison as the news of Kobe Bryant's passing made its way across our screens. The man was simply a titan of sport. There was something about Kobe that resonated with those who loved the beautiful game of basketball and those who didn't, regardless, Kobe's impact remains boundless, and it was evident today.
The situation feels surreal to be honest. Almost as if it's not possible for a man of Kobe's stature to pass the way he did. Often times we look at athletes almost as if they are superheroes, as if they don't breathe the same air we do. It's hard to look at someone on equal footing as you're shouting out their name while shooting a used napkin in the trash. Kobe isn't just a name, it's cultural cue of greatness.
That's why this one feels different. He had that Mamba Mentality, right? An anything is possible attitude he put on display countless times. Whether he was wearing 8 or 24, whether he was putting up 81 against the Raptors or 60 in his final game against the Jazz, whether it was winning 5 rings or helping raise 4 strong daughters, including 13 year-old Gianna who also passed away in the accident.
We can't forget their were seven others involved in the accident today, and reports indicate that they were all on route to the Mamba Sports Academy. Rest in peace to them as well. This has to be one of, if not the most tragic losses in sports history.
Kobe accomplished many things on and off the court during his long and celebrated career, but I think many of us were excited to see what he would bring to the table in the second act of his illustrious life. One can't help but wonder what young Gianna would have accomplished as well under the guidance of her father. Maybe that's the saddest part of all.
In regards to the passing of the Lakers legend, Commissioner Adam Silver sent out as mournful message via twitter:
Friend and former teammate Shaquille O'Neal also posted a heartfelt message:
Even the former President reached out to spread his condolences:
From one of those you inspired; Rest in peace Kobe and Gianna Bryant.