"The facts of the flight are still unknown to me; all I know is that it tragically ended in a crash. And in this crash, we lost one of the greatest basketball players of all time."
This rarely happens to me. Typically it's the case that a very significant event will occur in pop culture, and when I learn about it, I always find out late. However, this event was different.
It was Sunday. We had not too long ago, concluded our congregational meeting, and we were enjoying a fellowship meal as a church family. I went into my office to unwind a bit before our youth program. I picked up my phone, and I opened Instagram to see what was new in my search tab.
Little did I know, but I’d never be the same after this check.
You know that feeling. That feeling you get when you see something so shocking that you feel it physically. I saw it, and when I did, my head hurt. I said to myself, "Lord, no."
The post I saw was... well... take a look for yourself below...
It's a jarring post in every way.
The picture showcases the face that we all knew and cheered. It was the post-game win face. Most importantly, it was a face free of sickness, disease, and old age. It was a picture of life; it was Kobe.
However, the headline was different; it was visceral. I leaned back in my chair and prayed that it wasn't right. I went to Twitter, and I remember that I had caught the news so early that it wasn't even trending at the time. I had to type his name in the search bar.
And just like that, it slowly started to become real.
There were a few, all like me. Checking, posting and hoping that this was a lousy trick. That somehow, this tragedy was the workings of some troll with no decency or emotions. I searched and prayed. And I found...
No one identified it to be false or untrue. No counter-report. No claim of a hoax. The more I searched, the more it became real to me.
My Lord, the legendary Kobe Bean Bryant, was dead.
I slowly arose to go and inform others. However, the power of the cellphone and social media had already proven mighty. It seemed everyone outside of my office had already heard. The more I inquired with others, the more they affirmed what I feared.
I thought this is hands-down the worst news ever. I thought there is absolutely no way that this story could get any worse. Naturally, as many of you already know, I was wrong. In time I'd learn that a total of 9 people died in this horrific helicopter crash. One of which was our beloved, Kobe Bryant. Another would be his protege and 13-year-old daughter Gianna Bryant. That was painful.
I'd learn that the helicopter was transporting players, parents, and coaches all headed to partake in his two greatest loves, basketball and fatherhood. The facts of the flight are still unknown to me; all I know is that it tragically ended in a crash. And in this crash, we lost one of the greatest basketball players of all time.
My mind goes to a million places. I think of Kobe's wife, Vanessa, and what has to be her horrific pain. I think of his other three girls who are now gripping the knowledge of their father's demise. I think of what must have been his final thoughts as he looked on his daughter. Was he able to hold her? I envision my daughter, and I...
I'm at a loss.
I remain in prayer.
Kevin D. Jones, Sr.
Kevin D. Jones, Sr.
Believer - Leader - Flawed