I’m crying right now.

It’s happened a couple times this week, but not at the times you might expect, like the tribute at Staples Center last night. 事实证明,那些时刻太离奇,太错误,太混乱,让人无法流泪. How could Kobe Bryant, whose youth and vitality made him famous, whose resilience and invincibility made him a legend, be gone? It just doesn’t make sense. It still doesn’t feel real.

But in quiet moments, alone, 我发现自己终于完全接触到了科比的现实, my childhood idol and all-time favorite athlete, was dead.

很长一段时间以来,人们一直很难向篮球圈的其他人解释科比对他最大的球迷意味着什么, crucially, to LA. It wasn’t specifically about greatness, nor was it chiefly about all the winning, and it definitely wasn’t about logic, 尽管有一个分析团体非常愤怒,他们希望每个人都因为科比相对低效的不可饶恕的罪过而贬低科比(他们是一个令人愉快的团队). 这甚至不是说他在同一支球队赢得了他的5个总冠军, over two distinctly separate eras, and never left, 尽管这确实为一个强大的城市和玩家之间的联系奠定了基础.

More than any of that, 让我们如此热情地保护我们最喜欢的玩家,甚至让我的兄弟称我们为“母鸡之城”的是他给十大电子游艺平台首选感觉. 洛杉矶是一个奇怪的城市,把它归类为一个城市可能是一个错误. It’s by far big enough to dwarf many states, 它的亚文化是如此隔离,很少交叉,几乎没有什么让我们感觉像一个社区. Kobe Bryant was one of the few things that broke through; He transcended racial, 社会经济和文化的障碍使我们大家都了解彼此超过十大电子游艺平台首选紧张, sometimes comical devotion to our favorite player. 本周,当他去世时,我们整个城市都在哀悼,我不知道这是可能的. 我们呼吸的空气中弥漫着共同的悲伤,就像一团实弹的灰烬. Our hearts were broken, individually and together, because Kobe Bryant, the man who made us all feel immortal was, himself, dead.

Twenty plus years ago, 那时,科比还是全明星球员,尽管还没有到法定饮酒年龄,但他正准备赢得自己的第一个总冠军, 他给了一个患有严重哮喘和过敏的害羞的孩子那种不可战胜的感觉. His youth, vitality, brashness, 不受束缚的野心和超越的火花让我觉得我可以做任何事, 即使我在去那里的路上会因为哮喘发作而停下来. He made me feel larger than life, 就好像对他的崇拜把他的伟大转移到了我身上, 让我走上了通往伟大的道路,这是不可避免的, 不管那一刻看起来多么不可能或不合逻辑. As a role model, Kobe helped plant in me a resilient faith in my own future, and I leaned on that throughout my childhood, adolescence and early adulthood.

But time makes fools of us all, 成年期的神经症慢慢侵蚀了这种信念,直到, one day, 那些对未来的乐观愿景感觉已经完全不像未来了. They had come to feel like far off fantasies; daydreams that were nothing more than a break from reality. 我不再把自己置于神户那不可抑制的生命力之中. 一颗“我没有这个能力”的种子突然间长成了彻底的自我怀疑, continuing to grow until my faith in myself had, for the most part, disappeared. Worst of all, I hadn’t accepted that it was happening. I was still self-identifying as ambitious, driven, and optimistic, even as those words had begun to ring hallow. Some of those who know me best began to sense this change, and had started to politely ask me to give them a sign that my inner spirit still had a pulse; They were carefully putting a mirror to my pride’s mouth and waiting to see it still had enough air to fog up the glass. I pretended not to notice this was happening because, honestly, I had no compelling explanation to offer.

When the news of Kobe’s death came, it didn’t take long for me to know, 作为一个继续称自己为作家的人(尽管最近没有任何证据), I simply had to write about this. Not because the world needs to know what I have to say, 但因为这个职业如果不是为了表达一种感觉那么大. After all, 如果我不能把我的童年英雄的去世转化成我的名字, the dream simply had to be over. 因为没有长期的电影计划因为这显然既不是电影也不是小说, I had no excuse. “It’s now or never, 我想科比会这么说, 但更可怕的是,这肯定会让夸梅·布朗哭出来.

But I didn’t know what to write. 而不是像失去我最喜欢的运动员那样. 直到我看到年轻的科比的视频,非洲时代的科比. 在那一刻,我突然感受到了回到十岁的感觉, seeing my favorite player as a god the way 10-year old’s do. I remembered the way that kid had seen himself in Kobe, the uber athlete, and how that made perfectly fine sense to an unathletic, asthmatic Jewish kid, because children are the best that way.

And with that sensation came another. With clear eyes, I could see the truth I'd been avoiding; that I’d become smaller over the years. 当然,不是字面上的,而是在我的脑海中,在火焰燃烧的地方. More importantly, I finally saw this change for what it really was; not humbleness born of maturity, but a great loss born of fear. For the first time in a long time, 我记得我需要的不是改变,而是重新找回自我. 我从来没有停止过对科比追求伟大的那种冲动, I was just too scared to wake it up; terrified of the highs and lows that come when you live with real purpose. Now that all felt so pointless. Such a waste. 就好像科比自己在告诉我“他妈的醒醒吧”.

It’s still hard to process that someone so vital, so huge died at the young age of 41, and it’s even harder to accept the death of his daughter, Gigi, at the age of 13; That’s not to mention the seven other lives lost that day, 每一件事我们了解得越多,就越令人心碎. 我怀疑这场悲剧将永远令人难以接受, or at the very least will never feel right, 但我在他去世后人们的反应中找到了慰藉. 我希望科比能看到,他的城市团结起来庆祝他的生命. I wish he could see it because then he would know that, even if he’s gone, the way he made us feel will never be forgotten. He made us champions, and he made us feel like champions. That never goes away. That’s the power of a true legacy.


Thanks for everything, Kobe.

May you and Gigi Rest in Peace.


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