**FILE** Kobe Bryant (Keith Allison/Creative Commons)

Even if you aren’t a fan of basketball phenom Kobe Bryant, the news of his sudden and untimely death has left no one untouched – not here or anywhere around the world. Watching him on the basketball court scoring the highest number of points – 60 to be exact – in his final game before retiring from the NBA, and later on, seeing him courtside as a loving and doting dad made his fans happy. As he gracefully transitioned into the second act of his extraordinary life and career, no one could have imagined that at age 41, Kobe’s life would tragically end as it did on Sunday, January 26.

The story has been widely reported but the details remain unclear. What we do know is that Kobe, and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna, affectionately known as Gigi, were killed in a helicopter crash along with seven others in Calabasas, Calif.

Kobe, unquestionably, was a legend, and his outstanding sports career in the NBA beginning at age 18, is legendary, even by any standards set by his peers whose impressive careers Bryant tried to match. He not only succeeded but he excelled beyond belief during his 20 seasons in the NBA and his record proves he was the best.

Bryant represented excellence, and in his death, the more we know about his life, the more there is to learn from it. From the very start, he had a dream and he set his sights on achieving it, realizing that it would take consistent hard work and dedication to achieve his goals. Launching 1,000 shots at the basket each day meant nothing to a young kid who was striving to one day be better than the most celebrated basketball star he knew. Well-spoken and also fluent in Italian, French, Spanish, even conversant in Portuguese, Bryant held his own in the public arena. He was an avid reader and writer. He enjoyed rap music but also studied literature and film.

He excelled in business, but most recently demonstrated, after earlier exposing his human imperfections, that his greatest love was his four little girls and his wife.

There’s a lot to learn about life in the game of sports. Kobe’s life not only teaches us how fragile life is and reminds us of our own mortality but also teaches us to dream, to strive, to enjoy, to celebrate, to love and to give unselfishly. He gave us his all, and for that, we are grateful for the memories he has left us. R.I.P.

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WI Guest Author

This correspondent is a guest contributor to The Washington Informer.

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