Last week, the world was shaken by the tragic deaths of Kobe Bryant and multiple others. While many mourned his death and remembered the legacy he left behind, others cried out:
“But what about the other victims of the crash!”
“Kobe was a rapist!”
“Why don’t we get this upset about the soldiers who die in helicopters every day!”
I wanted to reply to every post. Because, while he was a lot of things, most of all Kobe was the epitome of growth.
Before his death, I had never even heard that he had raped someone. I was shocked, but I wanted to educate myself before saying, “He would never!” Because that is exactly what leads to women not being believed in these situations.
So I did my research and here’s what I learned: Kobe did rape a woman. In the trial, he admitted that, while he thought the encounter was consensual, he realized later that the woman he had sexually assaulted had not felt the same way.
Nothing can erase the trauma that woman underwent and might still experience today, and I hope she found justice and closure.
But here’s why Kobe is different than other rapists. He owned up to what he did. And he owned up to the fact that he cheated on his wife.
And in the years since, he has done nothing but turn his life around. He let that horrible mistake, and probably some others along the way, change him into a better man. He is truly a prodigal son if there ever was one.
Instead of criticizing him and the people who mourn him, I think there’s a lot of us who could learn a thing or two from Kobe.
His legacy is so much bigger than the basketball court. Kobe’s whole mentality was about putting in hard work to rise above one’s circumstances. His life in recent years was dedicated to bringing good into the world.
Go read the feel-good stories and tell me that that is not a man worth mourning.
Yes, Kobe received attention on a big stage, but he also made mistakes and suffered the consequences on a big stage, and also gave back on a big stage.
His life from the time he was in high school was publicly critiqued and criticized, and it’s ok if his life is publicly celebrated and mourned as well, even if the other victims are not.
If those victims were here, I can only assume they would mourn alongside the rest of us.
So please, let Kobe rest in peace, and let the world mourn him as they please.