While I was watching television on Sunday, I was alerted to one of the worst news stories that I have heard in quite some time; NBA Superstar Kobe Bryant was killed in a helicopter crash along with his daughter and seven others. Like I always do, I considered the source. When I realized that the source was TMZ, I knew that it was real. Now, I’m not here to validate or discredit the validity of the information presented by TMZ, but based on my experiences with them, they have always been spot on. Immediately, my heart sank because I wasn’t emotionally prepared to accept the loss of someone so young and full of life. As I began my own process of questioning and accepting, social media began to flood the internet with tributes to Kobe and his daughter. Following that, there were a series of hashtags. Following that, the pictures of fathers and their daughters began to flood the internet. As I watched the news, I saw one reporter that interviewed Kobe once turn a story about Kobe and his daughter into a story about the reporter and his daughter. “Tonight, I will hold my daughter a bit closer because I don’t know when it will be the last time that we are together.” Honestly, I found myself both frustrated and understanding at the same time. We as humans do what we can in order to develop an understanding of things that seem to defy our understanding. There were also those who wanted to bring up Kobe’s past sins that are neither appropriate or worthy of being discussed at this time. In that case, I was simply frustrated. While my thoughts and prayers are with Kobe’s family and friends, I have been doing a significant amount of thinking about my own life and the people that I love. Unlike Kobe, my circle is relatively small. To the naked eye, one may easily assume otherwise. Trust me, my circle is relatively small. Rather than focus on the size of my circle, I have decided to increase the intensity and frequency that I both love and spend time with the people in my circle. With that being said, if there is someone in your life that truly means something to you, do more than tell them that you love them. Show them that you love them. Put aside what you perceive to be important or relevant and spend the most valuable commodity we have as humans; time. Time can neither be replaced or forgotten if it is spent well. If you have children, may today, tomorrow, and the days that follow be the same; full. Now, I’ll be the first to say that I am still learning how to be a father. Again, there is no blueprint for parenting. I honestly believe that most are doing the best they can with what they have available to them. If you have a spouse, partner, mate, or friend, may today, tomorrow, and the days that follow be the same; full. I’ve always believed that the most powerful lessons are always taught during the most difficult times. This is a difficult time. For me, I believe that Kobe’s death gave us pause. All lives matter, and I wish it to be known that my heart bleeds for everyone who perished in that accident, but for me, Kobe’s death really jarred me. I feel the same way that I did when Aaliyah died; uncertain. I sincerely think that we need to slow down Family. I don’t want to take any more photographs for a while. I’m sincerely tired of social media. I don’t want to flaunt (or pretend to flaunt) wealth. I don’t want to brag about a life that still leaves me feeling incomplete at times. I want to laugh, love, and live. The time is now. Begin today. Kobe, while I never met you, thank you for taking me out of my reality on more occasions that I can remember with your immense talent. Thank you for giving me something to look forward to. I swear, when you played, I was excited like I was on the team too. Thank you for showing the world what a Black Man, Husband, and Father could be. Thank you for never giving up even though the world seemingly turned against you at one time. Thank you for your life on this side of existence. Love never dies, and nothing real can ever be broken. You will always be remembered as one of the best humans and basketball players of all time. Today, you are truly on the All Star Team alongside your daughter and friends. Say hello to my Mother for me. Godspeed Kobe. You are truly missed. Patrick
Like we never have before, this week, please do something for someone else for no other reason than to make their lives better. Also, if you make it to where you’re going, please don’t forget to leave a map for the rest of us. Do more than spend money, spend time. Always Choose Love.