I’m not a huge fan of basketball; soccer and football are more my games.
I’m a great fan of people working toward excellence. Who don’t take for granted a God-given talent but maximize it to become the best they can be.
We will be eulogizing Kobe Bryant for a long time. So many of the sportscasters are lauding him for his incredible skill and athleticism, his presence on the court; legitimate ways of remembering the man.
It was what he did when no one was looking that made him the player and man he was.
One sportscaster explained how many basketball players will take enormous amounts of time to rest during the months of April to October. They’ll practice and stay in shape, but a lot of vacation happens.
Kobe’s attitude was different. He’d take a week after the finals and relax. Then it was back to the 5 a.m. alarm and consistent workouts, pushing to improve his skill set. He counted the cost of what it meant to be an amazing player, not resting on his achievements but raising the bar for himself constantly, always seeing ways to improve.
Not a value he expected of anyone else.
More than anything else, he was a husband and father. The world saw a basketball player, but what required more work and effort was family. His wife Vanessa and his four girls were his biggest fans. Gianna, the second daughter, fell in love with the sport as her father and grandfather had years before. She was working to become the best player she could be.
Kobe wasn’t perfect. He almost lost his family quite a few years ago due to a bad decision he made. He lost sight of what was important for a time, but he owned his mistake. He and his wife fought for their marriage; that kind of work is harder than preparing for the NBA finals. You can’t settle for defeat, can’t allow losing all you’ve fought for to be an option. You work harder; marriage is worth that.
When Kobe and Gianna died in a helicopter crash this past Sunday, people mourned the loss of this hero and all he represented to the sport of basketball.
What outlives us?
The talk of legacy comes up every time someone famous dies. Rightfully so; we don’t often think of our mortality till we see someone we admire pass. Kobe wasn’t thinking it was his last day when he entered that helicopter.
How we live matters. Our lives reflect our values and character; our decisions impact not only us but those around us.
None of us is perfect. Jesus came to redeem the mess we’ve made of ourselves, to give us the grace to live out of victory instead of defeat.
Kobe’s value of hard work and excellence will be around for a long time. His influence on his family even longer.
We don’t know the number of our days; only God does. The challenge we have is to live them well.
Would you choose differently if you knew the date of your last day?