It’s taken me a while to process how I’ve been feeling since hearing the news about the death of Kobe & Gigi Bryant and the seven others this past Sunday. What was supposed to be a day to celebrate music and my son Michael’s gig later that night as part of the Grammy festivities, became a day that would be etched into my mind forever. This one hurts. His daughter too? I was sad, kinda mad and confused as I, like so many others, tried to understand and make sense out of that which seems senseless. So many people here in Los Angeles and around the world have been deeply affected by this. Even members of my own family were in tears. While I never met Kobe in person, I did have the privilege of watching him countless times on TV and in person at the Staples Center. He was super exciting to watch if you were a Laker fan and completely infuriating if you weren’t because he would just never go away. He wouldn’t stop until the clock said 0:00… And it’s that unending dedication and commitment to excellence with which I most connected.
His work ethic has been well documented and is legendary. He was highly dedicated to his craft and I was inspired by that. Long before we artists can reach the point of having our artistic sails blown by the winds of creativity, we must firstly be proficient in our craft. The unattractive, non-glitzy, not-ready-for-prime-time-or-Instagram, nut and bolts, repetitive grind of The Craft. The 10,000 unending, lonely “I suck” hours that turn into the beams which become attached to the foundation onto which our artistic skyscrapers can be built. Kobe was that for me. I would look at the dedication he had to his craft and be challenged to be more dedicated to mine. Inspiration’s funny that way. You never know where or from whom it’s coming but, if you’re open, it’ll find you.
I followed him in his post-retirement life even closer as I was intrigued as to where he would go after achieving all that he had as an athlete. What could possibly follow everything he accomplished? His commitment was no different in this period of his life either. Some people have a way of developing a, sort of, relationship with success where you can see that they both trust each other and it’s no big deal for either of them. Them and Success just go together. They fit. Kobe had that and it inspired me. I would watch YouTube videos of his talks and kept a note pad of the quotes that really spoke to me. I’d also often send links to friends who I felt could use a pick me up from a guy we all knew. He spoke in metaphors about dance, sunlight and moonlight and the subject of art was constantly interwoven in all of his talks. I was excited about where he was going in his life and hoped I would have years and years of being able to be touched by his mind and his spirit. While that hope is lost, I’m still inspired by the great legacy he’s left us both as an athlete and as a person.
My biggest take away from this tragedy? Not just this day, but this very moment is all we’ve got. Embrace it, enjoy it, love it, close your eyes and inhale it, squeeze all the damn juice out of it and show others how to do the same. This life, this day, this moment is the gift. Learn to be more present and take in all the blessings which surround you. Even in the midst of a challenge, there are things that are little gifts that have been tailor-made just for you. Open your spirits to see them then close your eyes to be grateful for them. Have a blessed day y’all – Love you ❤️🙏🏽😢