Unique tribute - GulfToday

Unique tribute

Kobe-Daughter-750

Kobe Bryant with his daughter Gianna Bryant

The tragic loss of Los Angeles Lakers great Kobe Bryant, his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, and seven others in a helicopter crash in Los Angeles last month, shocked the world. Kobe was a global sensation on and off the court and so tributes flowed from all corners (“World mourns death of basketball legend Kobe Bryant,” Jan.27, Gulf Today).

Of course the world is deeply saddened by the passing away of the legend, and the homage that followed was extremely touching. But the gesture by the world number one Novak Djokovic, stood out the most for me. Holding the Australian Open trophy in his hands for the eighth time, the Serbian tennis star remembered the basketball legend in a very unique way, sending out a very soulful message to the world.

“Obviously one person that I considered close in my life, and who was a mentor to me, Kobe Bryant, passed away as well with his daughter. I would just like to … say that this is a reminder to all of us that we should stick together more than ever. Be with our families. Stay close to the people that love you, that care about you,” said Djokovic while wearing a jacket with the letter KB and the Kobe’s numbers 8 and 24 emblazoned on the vest.

What a powerful reminder of reality it was. Kobe’s love for basketball and for his family, especially for Gianna was exceptional. Of course the sexual assault complaint did hurt his relationship with his family and short-circuited his legacy. But it did not kill his spirit. He successfully branched out into the entertainment industry. And two years ago, he won an Oscar for his animated short film “Dear Basketball”, a love letter to the sport which brought him fame and fortune.

The composite whole that Kobe was played well for him to be remembered the way he is, even after this death. Legends live long and the five-time NBA champion and two-time Olympic gold medalist will stay in our memory for a long time to come. Djokovic just made that even more special.

Celine R
By email