Off the Beat w/ Marc Lacy: What Can Minority Youth Learn From Kobe’s Passing?

Photo Credit: Harry How/Getty Images

I’m not sure the shock of it all will ever subside. Nobody expected this to happen to ANYONE…especially basketball icon Kobe Bryant. The confusion, the anger, the sorrow, the discombobulation, and hysteria of it all tend to mix themselves together as we all attempt to figure out what we were hit by. And yes, it sounds very selfish considering all of the other victims and their families; but that is certainly not the intent. I am personally praying for peace and comfort for ALL impacted by the tragic helicopter accident.

This just may be one of those things that will probably never be figured out…well not to the point in which there is total peace. Even if/when the National Transportation and Safety Board concludes their investigation and publishes the final report, it still won’t be satisfactory. Why? Because none of us have the power to bring those nine victims back to life.

None of us have the ability to bring solace to the surviving families. All we can do is pray for understanding, support the families as best we can, place our tributes on social media, and pray that at some point, time will stop standing still and begin moving again. But until then, it’s all about navigating the waters of uncertainty to the best of our ability.

To the youth, Kobe Bryant’s name is to basketball, what water is to the ocean. No water…no ocean. Of course, it’s not just the youth, it’s EVERY GENERATION. And not just in the US; but all over the world. Nike sent Bryant across the entire globe to be an ambassador for the game of basketball. Plus, we cannot forget the 5 NBA Championships, and the 2 Olympic Gold medals. The life of one Kobe Bean Bryant was stamped all over the game of basketball.

As a matter of fact, it is safe to say that God perhaps placed Bryant on earth to do 2 things, play basketball and inspire people. Yes he had his character flaws, and yes his record has a blemish or 2; but Bryant gave the game of basketball everything he had.

He couldn’t have given it an ounce more. The constant practicing, training, preparing, meditating, and playing through pain, Kobe set an example on the court like none before him. If his skill didn’t do it, his will did. The “Black Mamba” could strike in a deadly fashion at any given moment during the game. His killer instinct placed immense fear in all opponents. Kobe was not afraid to battle mightily on a nightly basis. The world took notice.

With all of the skill and talent the minority youth of Atlanta (and in other urban areas) possess on the hardwood, I’m quite sure their parents, coaches, and mentors have used Kobe Bryant as an example of work ethic, commitment, consistency, etc. With technology today, all a coach would have to do is go to Youtube and pull up a video of Bryant whether he’s speaking, practicing, or playing in a game. Sometimes coaches have challenges in getting the young athletes to commit to bettering themselves by implementing a personal process of improvement.

But all they (young athletes) have to do is see the Black Mamba in action. And it does not have to be him hitting 50 points in a game…nope. It can be a simple illustration of his process of improvement. Shooting a thousand shots a day while working on offensive and defensive fundamentals, topped off with a nice cardio and weight workout. If the right face is on the process, youth will buy into it without any hesitation whatsoever. But as they grow into their ability, they’ll recognize that it’s not just about the end product itself. It’s about the process of making the end product the best it can be.

Now, in getting to the heart of the matter, the question is what can the minority youth learn from this? There are so many lessons that can be taught. And I’m quite sure that the subject will be the underlying influence of thousands of sermons being preached within a certain time window of the tragic accident. One thing is for sure, the youth are definitely going to understand that the only guarantee in life (besides death and taxes), is that there are no guarantees.

No matter how well things seem to be going and no matter how well you treat others, you just never know how much time you have or don’t have. The phrase “the time is now” will never get old.

Another crucial lesson that can be taught is the fact that time spent with family is golden and that if it’s not spent in that capacity, you cannot get it back…ever. Bryant loved his wife Vanessa, and 4 daughters immensely. But unfortunately there was a falling out with his parents and things got very ugly. Not saying it is anyone’s fault in particular; but when it happens, it is very sad.

I can only imagine the hurt that followed once they found out about their son and granddaughter’s untimely deaths along with the rest of the victims. With that said, the lessons are endless here. Who knows? With the conveyance of possible lessons to the youth, we may all find peace and solace at some point. Until then, we all need to pray continuously for the victims’ families and for each other.

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