Today, the world was made aware of the death of the great Kobe Bryant. My sincere regrets to his wife, children and family. Words are inadequate at this time to express the profound impact that his passing has brought on millions of people. As a sports psychologist, I am aware there is a tendency to revere athletes who we admire and who inspire us. We are drawn to athletes psychologically because they can do things that we know we can’t do. Also, they help us to dream and imagine things, which fuels our imagination and elevates our confidence and feelings of self-mastery. Kobe was a superlative basketball player. I remember watching him in his first all-star game and I was amazed at how accomplished he was on the basketball court as a young player. His moves and confidence with the ball was majestic. I remember people saying that Michael Jordan would be passing the torch to Kobe because he was a prolific player who came straight from High School to the NBA, which was unheard of! Making the transition from High School to the NBA gives some indication of how gifted he was because that rarely happens. Kobe made that transition easily
When we receive news like this, it’s hard to deal with. It produces a wide range of emotions such as sudden grief, profound sadness, disbelief, consternation, counterfactual thinking, anger, free-flowing tears, examination of your own mortality, heartbreak, questions about life, retrospection, introspection and the proverbial question of why. We don’t know why these tragic things happen but this is a reminder that God is in control of the things that happen in our world. The passing of Kobe’s life wasn’t an accident if your faith is anchored in God. It hurts and it’s fraught with pain and anxiety but know that God orchestrates everything that happens in our world. I’m reminded by a scripture in the divisions of the Psalms. Here’s what Psalms 116;15 says. Precious (important and no light matter ) in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints (His loving ones). I hope that Kobe’s passing allows us to do some self-reflection. The thread of life can be easily broken and we must be prepared prior to our passing to make sure that our relationship and our faith is firmly solidified in our Creator. It’s important for us to count our years on this earth but more importantly to make each day count. Every day on earth is a gift from God and we simply don’t know when the gift will end.
Kobe was destined for greatness in this world. Most of his accomplishments on the basketball court is unmatched. Kobe was an 18-time All-Star, 15-time member of the All NBA Team, 12-time member of the All-Defensive team and the NBA’s Most Valuable Player in 2008 and a 5 time NBA champion. What a career resume! It wasn’t by chance that last night before his passing LeBron James surpassed Kobe’s career NBA points record. Kobe saluted LeBron with congratulations, which was a class act. All the money in the world can’t by class. You either have it or you don’t. Kobe had it.
Kobe Bryant, the Black Mamba is no longer with us but his memory will linger for a very long time. He was one of the best basketball players to ever play the game. I encourage you to be the very best that you can be. Follow Kobe’s example. As an athlete, he gave it his all on the court. Give all that you can in the game of life and inject God into all that you do and I’m confident that you will achieve greatness.
I’m crying with you today about Kobe’s passing but I’m also rejoicing for the great memories that he gave us. He was a great man with a captivating smile who was focused on winning. Just remember that Kobe was more than a basketball player.
Lennox Forrest, PhD
Remember, I’m your psychologist for today.