An L.A. Story Like None Other

Eric Rodas
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A mournful gloom looms over the entire “City of Angeles” as we all try to come to terms with the loss of loved ones and the fallout of its aftermath. This is truly a tragedy.

As the city attempts to cope with the sudden and unfortunate passing of one of its greatest champions, I find myself in deep reflection of just who this man was and who he had come to be.

My perspective of Kobe Bryant comes more from watching him grow up on a national platform than that of an adulating fan. However, I too am a father as well as a grandfather and mourn the loss of one our brethren.

A month has passed on and I have to say, I have been in awe of the global outpouring of sentiments and homages. Los Angeles alone has about 20 murals of him all over the city. During these somber days, I have witnessed the impact one man can have on a generation of people worldwide.

Every where you turn you can spot several No. 24 and 8 Laker jerseys, Lower Merion 33s’ and just about any kind of Nike shoe as well as merchandise made specifically for him. It has had an almost therapeutic affect on anyone trying to deal with this tragic event that seems so unreal to this very moment.

On the heels of celebrating Julius Irving’s 70th birthday, I struggle with the notion that Kobe is gone. It seems that basketball legends typically live a very long life; only a handful have passed away. As memorable as this gesture is, I never imagined I would see Bill Russell at Kobe Bryant’s memorial. It just doesn’t make sense to me.

It has been especially hard knowing that children were lost and families have been broken. No one should ever have to suffer through cruel moments such as these.

It is through tragedy however that we all come together and find reasons to keep moving forward. What was then a self-anointed moniker has now become a cultural movement.

The mamba mentality has taken form as a way of life. Kobe’s memorial was just that. It was a testimony of the nature of this man.

It brought people together from all walks of life and industries to remember what made him special and how profound his impact was on their lives. They shared stories and special moments just like the people around the city did wearing their Kobe gear.

Even the great Michael Jordan, at the risk of becoming an updated form of his crying meme, shared private Bryant stories and I applaud him for that.

The best way to honor his legacy is by imparting what we have learned from his life to the next generation of people. Kobe Bryant personified hard work and payed meticulous attention to the details of his task. He gorged on knowledge and thirsted for enlightenment.

He was a fierce competitor whom faced adversity head on. He was a devoted father and family man. Bryant made many mistakes in his life for he was merely mortal just like the rest of us.

What we should learn from this is the fact that he learned from his mistakes and became a better person for it just as we are all capable of doing. His example of this virtue, I believe, is his greatest contribution to humanity.

I thank you for the “Black Mamba”. It has been truly an honor witnessing your greatness. May you rest in eternal peace.     

 

  

Eric Rodas

Los Angeles, California

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