It is still difficult to comprehend that Kobe Bryant has missed out on experiencing most of the milestones in his NBA career. He was not here to witness his induction into the Basketball Hall of Fame, the NBA All-75-Teams, or the unveiling of his statue in front of the Crypto.com Arena on Thursday.
Bryant and eight others, including his daughter Gianna, tragically lost their lives in a helicopter crash on January 26, 2020. Four years later, it feels like two decades in the COVID world. Three weeks before his death, the NBA All-Star Game 2020 took place in Chicago, where Kobe’s scoring format for the fourth quarter was announced. His public memorial took place eight days later, and 16 days later, the world came crashing to a halt. Bryant’s family had to face the grim reality that millions of others shared, grieving the loss during a viral epidemic.
I didn’t have time to accept the grieving part with a person I saw in the news at the age of seven and then watched Thursday night after Thursday night on TNT for two decades. I remember seeing him in a Moesha episode live, almost as clearly as I remember his random last shot against the Utah Jazz.