Death is the Ultimate Equalizer: Reflections on Kobe Bryant's death

I am not a basketball superfan.

I am not well versed but I watch it, and I know the famous players. I know the Lebron James and Stephen Curry era, but not much before that. Kobe Bryant is a household name though. He is the poster boy for being an outlier, the best of the best, the Black Mamba. He exudes confidence and the manifestation of talent, skill, discipline, and hard work rolled into one.

Now he’s dead at 41.

I was shocked to know that he was so young still, and he was with his daughter in the helicopter accident. Life is so short indeed.

Reading his story brought a lot of reflection within me. How life is so short and how we all return to dust. How death is the ultimate equalizer, and whether you’re a believer or not, death will come to the great and known, as similar to the unknown.

The humility of being human

There are moments in our lives where we think what we do is important, why we need to get ahead, why we need to over perform. We seek so much validation in this earth yet all of this doesn’t matter. But what is? What is the point of living?

I guess the biggest lesson in life is humility.

That acceptance that we are just passing and we just make the most of the cards that we are dealt with. We cannot choose where we will be born or when, but what happens afterwards, we can sort of try to take control. We can choose to remain in our status class or climb up the ladder to success but all of this work does not necessarily result in meaning.

You can be running and playing the game of life but finding meaning and actually defining that meaning can be a challenge. It all leads back to humility- acknowledging that life is bigger than us and that we are not at the centre of the universe. Knowing that the world does not revolve around us will somehow, for whatever reason, give clarity and acceptance to who we are and what we do.

Gratitude in every day

I jog in the cemetery and each time I visit my schoolmates grave, I find appreciation to her and her life. I look back to our brief moments together and somehow, though it was not long, she has left a lasting impact on me. Like she will always be remembered- like, I’ve never known anyone as soft-spoken, firm, and kind person like her. She died on a tragic accident too- from a bomb detonating outside her university. Of all people, she did not deserve to die. But she did.

In all of that, I can only be grateful. Grateful for life, for another day that I still get to live and to be surrounded by the people that I love.

It’s hard to wrap around our thoughts on why good people die or the concept of death in general but it is a reality of life. We will all return to dust but I guess the key takeaway is to live life as if it’s our last. To be grateful for every single person that we meet, every victory that we have. To continue forward not because of, its just life as usual, but because we are lucky to be able to breathe for another second, another day.

It seems counterintuitive that in order to appreciate life, we must first accept the inevitability of death. Nobody knows when would be that time or that moment yet as cliche as it sounds, all we can do is to make do of what we have today.

Perhaps it is about living in a way that will last a lasting legacy. To have a mark in this world and to people that we meet. Eventually, we will all be forgotten but hopefully, the impact of our lives on some people, our family, and friends will remain.

Thank you, Kobe

Kobe, to so many people, will mean many things. He is a father, a husband, a coach, a superstar, a legend. To me, he is an example of a person that made the most of what he has given, a person who nurtured his gift and went for his dreams. He practiced and sweat, gave all to his craft and given back the love of sport through coaching.

He might not know me personally but his death brought me to realize that my discontent and discomforts are trivial. I live day to day blandly not thinking that life is so short. His death made me realize to take a second look at the people that are important to me and to actually savor every opportunity to be alive.

Life is a gift, let’s not waste it.

Kobe could have done so much more if he had time, but his time was up at 41. His tragic death reminded to be thankful for my own life, be happy with what I have, be grateful for living with the people I love, and with that- thank you, Kobe.

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