A Year Without Kobe

Happenstance: a circumstance especially that is due to chance.

A year and a day ago Lebron James shattered Kobe’s career NBA points record, while wearing “Mamba 4 life” etched on his sneakers, in Kobe’s hometown of Philadelphia. Less than a mere eighteen hours later, Kobe’s life abruptly came to its end.

Happenstance.

After James’ game preceding Kobe’s death, he made statements about Kobe and showered his name with accolades. He discussed a time when Kobe had given him a pair of shoes at a hotel in Philadelphia and about playing on the 2008 USA Olympic Basketball team alongside him. He called that time a “dream come true.”

Lebron went on to say, “We take it down to 2008 where we become the ‘Redeem Team.’ It was a dream come true for me to be able to line up alongside of him and just admiring him for so many years and seeing him from afar and then being able to be in practices with him and me watching and learning, it’s just too much. The story is just too much. It doesn’t make sense. And just to make a long story short, now I’m here in a Lakers uniform, in Philadelphia, where he’s from, where I met him, he gave me his shoes, he won at All-Star Weekend, it’s surreal. It doesn’t make sense, but the universe just puts things in your life and I guess when you’re living the right way or you’re just giving everything to whatever you’re doing, things happen organically and it’s not supposed to make sense but it just happens. I’m happy to just be in any conversation with Kobe Bean Bryant, one of the all-time greatest basketball players to ever play, one of the all-time greatest Lakers. The man’s got two jerseys hanging up in Staples Center. It’s just crazy.“

Lebron’s comments almost seem to be a form of foreshadowing. They eerily sound like statements that could have been mistaken to have been made after his death, but they were not. When he said “It’s just too much. The story is just too much, it doesn’t make sense,” I don’t think he realized how much more it would not make sense the next day.

On January 26, 2020, the world stopped turning. It was bigger than basketball, it surpassed even the sports world, it was more than generational, and it was felt across the world. It was one of those days that years from now, it will be asked, “Where were you, when the world stopped turning?”

A year later, we universally mourn a father and his daughter and seven other lives

A memorial last year at The Kobe Bryant Gymnasium at his alma mater, Lower Merion High School.

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