Monday, January 27, 2020


Basketball great Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers was just killed in a helicopter crash. He was only 41. Bryant's 13-year-old daughter Gianna, who was with him in the helicopter, was also killed. A total of nine people died in the crash.

I honestly don't know much about Bryant because I never follow sports, but even I was aware of his prowess on the court. Many years ago, I saw a YouTube video of Bryant speaking in fluent Italian during an interview, which is how I learned that he had spent many years in Italy. Here's a link to one of several videos in which Bryant speaks Italian; this isn't the video I had originally seen, but it'll give you an idea of Bryant's high level of fluency: he looks and feels comfortable speaking the language. I suppose it shouldn't come as a shock to see a non-Italian speaking Italian, any more than it's a shock to see a white guy speaking perfect Korean, but I guess I have my prejudices when it comes to sports figures: I normally think of them as meatheads who know only one thing and do it well.

Kobe was accused of sexual assault in 2003; the victim apparently refused to testify in court, and the case ended with an out-of-court settlement, which didn't exactly look good for Bryant (or the victim, for that matter: she proved that she could be paid off). Bryant moved on with his life, retiring from a stellar career in basketball at around the age of 38. He had four daughters with wife Vanessa, and along with speaking Italian, Bryant also spoke Spanish. His philanthropic work included helping underprivileged inner-city kids as well as military veterans. RIP, Mr. Bryant.


Charles said...

I was shocked to read about this earlier today. I was never a big basketball fan, either, but I too knew of him. Even HJ has heard of him, and she knows next to nothing about American sports.

John Mac said...

Basketball is the number one sport here in the Philippines, so Kobe's death was big news. Was surprised at the outpouring of grief on FB from regular Filipinos.

I didn't know that Kobe was multilingual. Interesting. Seems he lived a good life, notwithstanding the rape allegation. I read that the Washington Post reporter who tweeted about that incident "for balance" has been suspended. I'm waiting for Greta to attack Kobe for traveling by private helicopter--how dare him!

Anyway, all his money couldn't buy him another day. I'm not sure his death is any more tragic than a regular Joe killed on his way to work, but it is a reminder that life is fleeting. Kobe made the most of his talents and also gave back to his community. Well done, sir. Rest in peace.