Kobe Bryant:

Why It Hurts So Much

Author: Saleama A. Ruvalcaba, MATS

This past Sunday the world lost one of the greatest athletes of all time. Like any other Sunday, it most likely started as a normal Sunday for the Bryant family, however, within a few short hours, Kobe Bryant, his daughter, and seven others would perish in a helicopter crash that would shock us all.

Our family is a pretty reserved family. The only television we watch is classic movies and a handful of newer movies. However, we do watch sports! My husband Omar is a football coach and we have always been sports fans. My son Jaden is what I call a “true” sports fan. He loves all sports!

This coming Sunday the majority of the world will come together to watch the Super Bowl.

Sports has a way of uniting people.

Sports has a way of bringing happiness and excitement into our lives – if only for a few moments.

We become emotionally involved in the lives of the athletes we watch.

We’re happy with them!

We also cry with them – when their hopes and dreams of a championship fade away.

Since learning of Kobe Bryant’s death along with his daughter and seven others, it has sincerely hurt our family. We have been either in tears or on the verge of tears almost every day.

“We watched Kobe Bryant achieve so much as an athlete.”

Omar was born and raised in Los Angeles. I lived there for 20 years. Three of our five children were born in Los Angeles. Kobe Bryant was only three-years younger than me. We watched his entire basketball career from the time he was 18-years-old drafted by the Lakers, until he retried. We watched his infamous airballs as a young player. We witnessed his marriage and the birth of his first child. We witnessed three Laker championships in a row. We watched the city of Los Angeles celebrate after the championships. We watched the tears flow down Kobe’s face the year they didn’t win the championship. We cried with him. We watched his infamous rape trial as he endured public humiliation for his sin. We watched the bickering between he and Shaquille O’Neal. We watched him win two more championships as a Laker. We watched Kobe Bryant achieve so much as an athlete.

But…we’ve never met Kobe Bryant in person – so why does his death hurt so much?

The other day ESPN aired a tribute basketball game of Kobe. Omar began to watch it – but couldn’t.

It took Omar four days to call his older brother in Los Angeles to talk about Kobe’s death. It was a sad talk. The city of Los Angeles is mourning. They hurt.

I keep asking God why does this hurt so much?

I believe the answer is this…

Kobe Bryant was a human being and the magnitude of his life made us feel as if we knew him – even if only from a distance.

I have no idea if Kobe Bryant was a follower of Jesus Christ, but what I do know is he was a real person who had a wife, children, family, and friends who will never be the same, and they will need the supernatural comfort and strength of Christ to live through each day.

We are all human begins. We all have a life we live. Some of us have children. Some of us are single. Some of us are athletes. Some of us are entertainers. Some of us are doctors. Some of us are lawyers.

Some of you are like me who work for a church. I have a husband and children. We’re busy. We have plans every day.

We all have some type of life we live and we expect our lives to be uninterrupted. We all have calendar of events right now that we expect to happen. Some of us have summer vacation plans on our calendar right now (already paid for) and we expect those plans to happen.

We do not expect to wake up one morning and tragically die within hours of the day starting.

Every single day however, that is exactly what happens to some people. Every single day someone hears horrible news about their health. Every single day someone who had prayed and believed for a miracle – didn’t see that miracle come to pass. And we hurt for those people.

That is why this hurts so much. Although we knew Kobe Bryant only from a distance, he lived a life like most of us (although on a different scale). Sure, most of us do not commute via helicopter, but that was a normal part of life for Kobe and his family. The same way we get into a vehicle every day, or those who ride a motorcycle, we don’t expect disaster to come from it. Kobe was a lot like most us; a family man with plans on his calendar; family plans, business plans, –  which he fully expected to see happen.

“We must live life to the fullest.”

Ecclesiastes 3:1 “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens.”

We must remember to live life to the fullest.

What does that mean?

I keep seeing a quote from Kobe Bryant posted online: “I have nothing in common with lazy people who blame others for their lack of success. Great things come from hard work and perseverance. No excuses.”

Clearly Kobe Bryant is speaking about earthly success, but I challenge you to take this quote and become who Jesus Christ calls you to be. If you can look at Kobe Bryant’s life and see the capacity we have in our earthly power to become successful, you can take that same earthly power and give it to Jesus Christ to become whom God wants you to be.

No excuses!

Read your Bible every day.

Ask God to help you understand His Word.

Pray every day.

Go to church.

Worship God.

Be compassionate to others.

Share the Gospel.

Make disciples.

Repent! Turn away from your sins.

Serve others.

Keep learning.

Keep growing.

No excuses! 

Psalm 145:4 “One generation commends your works to another; they tell of your mighty acts.”

There is no doubt the legacy of Kobe Bryant will live on for many, many years.

But what about your legacy?

What type of legacy are you going to leave?

Just like Kobe Bryant you have no idea when your story will end – but you can live your life to the fullest today as a faithful follower of Jesus Christ. No excuses! 

I have no idea how my story will end either, but I know I want my legacy to be great! I am nothing without Jesus Christ. I want my husband and children to know I lived life to the fullest and that I have given my heart and soul to living as an obedient servant of Jesus Christ. No excuses! 

I love sports and I am thankful we were able to witness the greatness of Kobe Bryant. We have prayed every single day for his family and for the families of those who were on the helicopter. We pray for all those directly impacted by this tragedy that if they do not know Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior – they will come to know Him.

Kobe’s death along with his daughter and the seven others will hurt for a long time – but I know God can and will bring good through this.

Proverbs 27:1 “Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring forth.”

Tomorrow is never promised to us.

Remember to live life to the fullest by living your life as a faithful follower of Jesus Christ.

Leave a legacy that will last forever.

No excuses! 

~Saleama A. Ruvalcaba, MATS


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