The other day was in a sense a mixture of somberness and unbridled joy. The love that radiated for Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna was infectious and emotionally debilitating all within the same breath. Finally seeing Vanessa Bryant speak so eloquently about the two loves of her life was undeniably powerful, and having well known confidants of Kobe’s showing up and explaining the impact of his “mamba mentality” on the world was a beautiful series of moments. One moment in particular that left an imprint on fans all over the world was Shaquille O’Neal’s personal speech.
If Beyonce’s performance of “Halo” and “XO”weren’t already producing an onslaught of tears in your eyes, Shaq’s speech definitely did the trick. His grief was utterly obvious in his physical posture and the look on his face. The pain although palpable didn’t totally encapsulate the happy moments Shaq went on to share in his remembrance of Kobe. A little anecdote that made the crowd laugh was when Shaq and Kobe shared a humorous trade off of words. Now, we all definitely know by heart the saying there is no “I” in team, but when Shaq brought that to Kobe, he countered wittily it with there sure is an “Me” in that “motherfu****”.
It is a great thing to understand that even in such profound grief there can be honest moments, and “jokes” to be made. During this time it is imperative for people to embrace not only the Bryant family with love, but also everyone’s family who lost someone in that helicopter crash. The public must remain respectful and give Vanessa and her children the space to understand what’s happened, and not necessarily “move on” from it but learn how to live with it in a healthy way.
It is intense to truly comprehend the impact someone like Kobe can leave on a generation. When the news was announced people couldn’t even come to the point of believing it. His influence spread far beyond basketball and traditional entertainment. He touched the hearts of millions with a process and a power behind going after what he desired, and making his dreams a reality. This “mamba mentality” is something anyone from any profession can utilize in life for decades to come.
The impression that his wife Vanessa Bryant left the audience with after her speech was so honest as well. It was obvious why they were married for so long, and how connected they were to each other because of their likeness in personality and familial values. Her allowing the world to understand his wins as a father from driving the girls to school everyday on time, or walking back and forth down the hallway to help them fall asleep was so lovely to be let into.