Updated: Sep 14
I wondered if I would ever write about the death of Kobe Bryant. It took his one-year anniversary and a week to put pen to paper. The void left by Kobe Bryant’s tragic sudden death will remain there forever. No one can fill his shoes and we can do is remember how brilliant player he was and how beautiful he was as a human being. He was not just an all-time player; he was an amazing son, a caring husband and a great friend. It’s why his family, friends and former teammates are still struggling to digest that a tragic accident took him away from us.
It’s been a year since Bryant, along with his 7-year old daughter and seven other people, died in a helicopter crash in California. But one of his closest teammates, Shaquille O’Neal, revealed how he spent the day of Bryant’s death anniversary. In his recent interview Shaq revealed that he was able to gather the courage to call Bryant’s parents on that day.
“I’m sort of a tough cookie,” O’Neal told, before adding: “So I called them, made sure they was right. We didn’t talk long, just, ‘Love you guys, if you ever need me, I’m here.’ “Look, I’m 48. I’ve been through a lot, I’ve seen a lot. So I was more worried about his mom. “I’m a mama’s boy, so that’s the first thing I did when I woke up; called his mom and just let her know that I love her,” he shared.
Shaq also discussed how Bryant’s widow, Vanessa Bryant is coping up with the loss. “It was a tough day for the country, but for Vanessa and the kids, and for Kobe’s parents, his brother and sisters, it was a tougher day,” O’Neal said. “So I just wanted to make sure that they were OK,” he continued. “[Vanessa] is doing a great job. I’m sure [Bryant’s daughters] already know that their father was fearless and was a caring person.”
Vanessa had a tough day as well. She took to Instagram and shared a letter sent by Gianna’s BFF named Aubrey Callaghan. “You have probably heard this, but if I ever become a mother, I hope my daughter turns out exactly as yours did,” Callaghan wrote of Vanessa, going on to say that she remembers Gianna as “kind, caring and endlessly polite.”
Vanessa wrote, “beautifully sharing some of your memories of my Gigi with me and allowing me to share them here on my ig. “My Gigi is INCREDIBLE and I truly appreciate your thoughtful letter. She loves you so much. I miss my baby girl and Kob-Kob so much, too. ♥️I will never understand why/how this tragedy could’ve happened to such beautiful, kind and amazing human beings. It still doesn’t seem real. Kob, we did it right. Gigi, you still make mommy proud. I love you,”
Current NBA Stars like Los Angeles Lakers stars Lebron James and Anthony Davis echoed what we all felt, that after one year it’s still not easy to deal with. Kobe’s loss hit us all hard and really just doesn’t seem real or fair. It’s like once we lost Kobe, the whole world just went into a tailspin that we haven’t recovered from.
Growing up, I couldn’t stand Kobe. I was a huge Allen Iverson fan and could stomach watching the Lakers win year after year. But deep down I knew I liked him and over time that hate grew into respect and admiration. I knew I was watching greatness. Kobe isn’t the greatest player ever, but he was damn close. He was the closest thing to Michael Jordan, and I appreciated him more as I got older.
The outpouring for Kobe was unimaginable. I remember not having spoken to people in a while and then when the news broke, reaching out. We aren’t guaranteed anything in this world, our lives start and eventually end. It’s that reality that makes us beautiful, because every moment is precious. Kobe Bryant will live forever in the heart of every basketball lover and it seems as if he is still here playing when you see any player playing on his day, that’s how great he was.