The Indomitable, Inimitable, Incomparable 8/24 DNA
By Drew Hawkins
Yesterday’s loss was not just about losing a legend who had given so much to the sport, the NBA, the nation and the world. It was greater than that. It was a loss of what could have been and what was yet to be.
As many in the sports world and beyond have remarked, they were just getting to know Kobe Bryant after his 2016 retirement. During his 20 years on the court, his intensely competitive nature rendered him guarded and what some perceived as arrogant. He didn’t vibe with other players much. He was all business and his record proved that. His work ethic or “Mamba Mentality” was as legend as his record and they were, of course, interdependent. Yet, this all seemed to soften after his retirement from playing the game. He had big plans for continuing to further the game by educating the younger players coming into the NBA as well as serving as champion for the WNBA.
Kobe’s 13-year-old daughter Gianna had big plans to play for the WNBA and he was doing what any father would do to help lay the foundation for that by coaching her. He spoke of her love and passion for the sport. It was in her DNA, obviously. Many of the photos being shown include shots of the two together court side with big, identical smiles. The DNA is undeniably apparent in the glow on their faces as they share the sport together as spectators but, more importantly, as dad and daughter.
Kobe’s love for the game is undisputable but he also realized there was life after the game. He plotted and planned to outwork his potential off the court and was well on his way to doing that. Since leaving nearly four years ago, he had authored several books, including a series of kids’ books, co-directed an academy award winning animated movie, and was lending his celebrity status to building the popularity of Major League Soccer in the US market – another favorite sport of his — as well as the WNBA. He was just getting started.
There is no question that his 8/24 DNA had so much more to give and to teach. He had so many more years ahead of him to continue to impress us. What else did he have in store for us to marvel at? And, to just imagine Gianna’s potential for greatness and wondering whether she could have been the WNBA’s Kobe or even better.
We will never know.
If there is anything we learn from yesterday’s tragedy it is that no matter our age or place in life, we must live for today — still plan for tomorrow for the sake of our loved ones — but live in the moment. Nothing is guaranteed.