As I sat there crying watching the re-air of Kobe Bryant’s final NBA game, LeBron James’ Instagram tribute to Kobe came across my feed.
And while his expressed loss for words was easy to relate to, it was another reminder of the gravity of the moment and the sheer impact Bryant’s death had on so many across the world. Even those we consider titans in life.
This is someone who was a part of our lives for so long, whose loss shone a light on our own mortality. After all, if it can happen to Kobe, it can happen to anyone.
Of course the sentiment coming from James had even more meaning as we had just watched him pass Bryant on the scoring list hours before the tragic accident. An achievement met with Kobe’s public congratulations and a private phone call shared between the two.
And in many ways they will be forever linked. LeBron was the guy after Kobe. And they were pitted against one another in so many arguments. If there’s a sports lesson learned for me it’s to not diminish anyone’s greatness in an effort to prop up your point, something I probably did too often at Kobe’s expense and in favor of James.
To his credit LeBron vowed to continue Bryant’s legacy, saying it is his responsibility to put it on his back and keep it going.
As a result I think a lot of people have become Lakers fans, at least for the remainder of the season, because it would be a fitting tribute to Kobe to see LeBron win it all in a purple and gold jersey.