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Kobe Bryant: Proof that Sports Matter


RESPECT

A legend is gone and the world is hurting. This weekend’s tragic helicopter accident claimed the lives of nine people whose families all need support. But because of Kobe’s impact on the world, the attention has focused on him. And understandably so.


As the news broke and made its way around the world, an outpouring of compassion dominated all sources of media. Live sporting events responded by paying tribute to the basketball legend and celebrities from all walks of life shared their respect and appreciation for Kobe’s accomplishments on and off the court.



COMMITMENT

A theme I see throughout these tributes is a testament to Kobe’s work ethic and commitment. Former teammates and opponents alike are sharing their admiration for his commitment to improve, in all aspects of his life.



Competition can bring this trait out in a person, and sports provide a great opportunity for us to test our commitment and make us stronger in the face of adversity. Life is full of unexpected challenges and the more we prepare ourselves for the knock-down, the easier it is to get back on our feet and fight to improve.


LEADERSHIP

The other main theme I see is Leadership. It was obvious that Kobe was the floor-leader when he took the court, but it goes beyond that. What Kobe did for the game of basketball has provided many more young athletes opportunities that they may not have had otherwise.



He was also an entrepreneur and businessman, where he proved to his mentors his willingness to learn. He founded and led companies like Mamba Academy, where he passed on his knowledge and experience to the next breed of athletes.


And when it came to giving back, Kobe excelled again. Whether it was the Foundation he created with his wife, Vanessa, or the many ways he touched the lives of children battling challenges across the world, he was a leader in social impact.


UNITY

Professional athletes garner the attention of more than just their fans, and as their success grows they assume greater responsibility, whether they accept it or not. Some athletes struggle to manage this responsibility, while others embrace it and often leverage it to make a social impact. Kobe chose to embrace his celebrity and the world’s reaction to his departure is evidence that his impact was overwhelming.


We often find that it takes the loss of a loved one to force us to take perspective on life. It’s unfortunate, but true. Our daily pet peeves seem ridiculous and those ‘beefs’ we have with others become worthless and a waste of energy.



Watching how people across the world are united in paying tribute to this fallen legend, it makes me wonder if this is an opportunity to come together, at least a little closer, and use this common ground to take perspective. Sure, we may have differing opinions and argue over what seems like big problems, but we can all agree that life is priceless. And if we can learn from the world’s reaction that we can all be compassionate, maybe we can start to listen a little more and try to understand each other better.


BECAUSE OF SPORTS

Would we be talking about Kobe Bryant if he never picked up a basketball? Maybe. Maybe Kobe would have found another outlet to share his skills with the world. His accomplishments after basketball seem to indicate that may be true.


But it’s tough to argue with the fact that Kobe became known around the world because of his success in sports, basketball specifically. This was the platform where he could build his character and share his skills with others.


Celebrities and world leaders leave us nearly every day and we acknowledge their accomplishments – but what we’re seeing with Kobe Bryant is astounding. Sports provided him this platform, and sports are something that seems to bring us all together. So if it’s the loss of a sports legend that helps us turn a corner in this ever-polarizing world, I’ll argue that one can benefit many ways from making sports a part of their life.

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