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Day 65 – Goodbye Kobe Bryant

5.24 miles. 30 degrees F. 122bpm. 12:45/mi.

Those numbers don’t seem so impressive on the surface, but underneath, they’re a breakthrough. For many years I would have dismissed a run like that as being too easy to accomplish anything. Today I appreciate an easy run.

As I look back on the events of this past week, I also appreciate the life of Kobe Bryant, basketball superstar. I never idolized him like I do Michael Jordan, but I love part of what he stood for. Let’s get the negative aspects out of the way so we can see the positive.

Allegations of sexual assault need to be taken seriously and Bryant’s position in society does not excuse him from accountability. In my view, there will always be a cloud over his legacy because of his infamous legal situation in 2003. I don’t know the case beyond media hype. Maybe he was exonerated. Maybe he was a victim. Maybe he should have been incarcerated. I don’t know.

But there were things about Kobe Bryant that are worth honoring. With his death earlier this week, I am reminded of two things: 1) passion and 2) experience.

Kobe Bryant did not just love basketball, he was passionate about it. His passion drove him to great success on the court. Basketball was his life. Would he have been just as great at something else had basketball never been invented? That’s an interesting philosophical question that has no rational answer. However, I would argue that he would have been great at something, because he had a singleness of purpose that could probably have been applied to any other endeavor.

I heard a story about him this morning. Apparently, he taught himself to play a song on the piano because he wanted to sing a song to his wife on a special occasion. He could have hired anyone to sing that song, but he knew that it meant more for him to play it and sing it himself. Which leads into the second thing I talked about: experience.

Kobe Bryant was 41 years old at the time of his death. That is quite young by today’s standards. What he accomplished in those 41 years seems like far more than what most of us accomplish in a lifetime.

I can’t say I’ll miss him, because I never knew him. But I am thankful for his positive influences on people around the world. I’m sorry for his darker moments. Maybe we, as individuals, can learn from those too.

Until tomorrow…

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