As far internet groundswells go, Kobe Bryant's death and the subsequent outpouring of grief and admiration, is without equal. Nearly 48 hours after the tragic helicopter crash that took Bryant's life, as well that of his 13-year-old daughter Gianna and the seven other passengers on board, the tears and tributes are still rolling in en masse. In the year 2020, when our collective attention span has been reduced to that of a single gnat—on Super Bowl week, when all eyes would have ordinarily been on football—this is perhaps the greatest testament to Kobe's influence, power, legacy, and magnetism. The man was a force. We thought we already knew that. Now we truly understand.
Eventually this will fizzle, of course. It's the way of all things. There's going to be a point of diminishing returns. Emotional exhaustion is going to set in. People are going to eventually turn the page. But before we do, we simply cannot overlook perhaps the greatest Kobe in story in the deluge of great Kobe stories this week. You may be tired, you be hurting, but if you only have one of these left in you, make it this one. Trust us, it's worth it.
There's been a lot of stories this week about Kobe the father, and rightfully so. Even Bryant, one of the most cold-blooded dudes to ever set foot on a basketball court, understood that fatherhood eclipsed basketball. But this story from two of Bryant's former teammates drives at the heart of Kobe the Competitor—the Kobe the world at large knew, loved, and, yes, sometimes hated too. He gave everything he had every night. He swished two damn free throws on a blown achilles to clinch a playoff spot before walking himself to the locker room. If you didn't match that intensity, you sure as hell weren't going to be wearing his damn shoes. This Kobe story, especially in concert with this follow-up from Lou Williams, captures the full Kobe experience in 140 characters better than most of us have been able to do in 2,000 words.
But mostly, it's just good to laugh. If this is the last Kobe story you read for awhile, at least leave smiling.