Why We Care That Kobe Bryant Died
He wasn't a soldier, he was a basketball player. He didn't protect our country, he didn't save lives. Why do we care?
As the news broke and filtered out about the death of Kobe Bryant, many wondered aloud (mostly on social media) why anyone cared. What about the other people on the helicopter? What about the members of the US Military who lost their lives recently? Why were they not featured in the news?
Let's Start With Death
The thing I am finally starting to realize is this: We all die. WE WILL ALL DIE. Life is here and now. Life is today. Tomorrow is not guaranteed and we have no idea what tomorrow will bring, if anything.
It's About the Love
Look around you in your own life. Who do you have, really? You have your friends, family and acquaintances. Love them. Love them harder. It's you and them. This is it.
If you grew up following sports, music, dance, or any kind of art or performance, you know people involved in those activities. You may not know them personally, but you know about them. To some degree, you've gotten to know their names - maybe more. If sports is your thing, you probably are fans of a team or players. You root for them; you follow them. You might feel some sort of closeness to them. You care.
Now, does this mean a celebrity's death is "more important" than that of anyone else? Certainly not. Almost everyone's death is mourned by the people who knew him or her. It just so happens that when a celebrity dies, a lot of people knew him or her.
A lot of people "knew" Kobe Bryant. He meant something to a lot of people. Did be do more than others, outside basketball? Probably not.
Think of it this way, if more people attend person X's funeral than person Y's funeral, does that make person X more important? Certainly not - it's just that person X knew more people - or, more people knew of person X.
More people "knew" Kobe than anyone else who died in the crash. (Plus, he was the first name that leaked out.)
About News Coverage
Was Kobe Bryant's life more important than anyone else's life? Certainly not. The thing is, though, more people knew Kobe than the others on the plane. Sure, we want to know something about the others that lost their lives, but honestly, at least on a larger scale, we didn't know them. To many, in some sort of way, Kobe was a lot of people's family member, friend, or acquaintance.
The other thing about the news coverage - the news people - the networks, the newspapers, the bloggers.... they KNOW that most people wanted to hear about Kobe, specifically. That's their business: to focus on who people want to see. They know that more people will be glued to the TV if they're talking about Kobe compared to one of the other passengers on the helicopter.
Ask yourself, if it was "just another helicopter crash", would you have kept switching the channel back to the news? Would you have kept searching for news online?
This is not to defend the news coverage. Some of the leaking, speculating, and all-out lying was ridiculous. Again, though, THEIR goal is to "sell newspapers."
One other type of post I saw yesterday was: "He never worked a day in his life" or "He was just a rich celebrity."
You know what, you could be a professional basketball player, too. This is America, it's open to anyone. Just get off YOUR ass and have the commitment it takes to get to the highest level. Not talented enough to be an athlete? Be a famous actor or singer. Or, an entrepreneur. Heck, it's 2020, get out a camera and make some YouTube videos. Again, it's America, these jobs are open to anyone who works at their craft and shines. Sure, luck is involved, but so is hard work and commitment.
Was it really necessary to point out, on the day of his death, Kobe's faults? Yes, he wasn't perfect, but neither am I; neither are you. How would you like your life's sins to be announced on the day you die?
Of all the posts on social media yesterday, this one got to me more than any other. It's from billionaire Mark Cuban. (Again, in America, the job of billionaire is there for the taking.) I recommend reading it and following Cuban's advice:
Rest in Peace, Kobe. We might not have known you, but we knew you. We loved you.