Pastor Jason Murphy
Thoughts on the Kobe Bryant Tragedy
Updated: Mar 29, 2020
Everyone is talking about the tragic death of Kobe Bryant. Just in case you are not aware of this heartbreaking news, Kobe Bryant, the NBA legend who played twenty years with the Los Angeles Lakers, his thirteen-year-old daughter, Gianna, and seven other people died in a helicopter crash on Sunday, January 26, 2020. Kobe was forty-one years old.
According to cbssports.com, the helicopter transporting Kobe Bryant and the other passengers were granted special permission to fly in spite of the treacherous weather conditions. The inclement weather caused the helicopter to fly unusually low. In fact, it has been reported that at least one air traffic controller informed the pilot that he was flying so low that the helicopter was not even registering on radar. The helicopter crashed in the hills of Calabasas, California killing all passengers.
The Bible also reveals to us that our life is like vapor. It is here for a moment then gone.
When the news broke of Kobe’s death, it seemed as though the world stopped. Sports fans of all ages took time to remember the basketball greatness of Kobe. Just to give you an idea of how great he was on the basketball court, read these statistics provided by theringer.com. The article was written by Zach Kram, and is entitled, “The 24 Stats That Explains Kobe Bryant’s Staggering Legacy”.
Here are the twenty-four stats Kram listed that make Kobe Bryant a basketball legend:
“No player in any major professional sport spent more time playing for a team in Los Angeles than Bryant.
Bryant played 20 seasons for the Lakers—the second-longest tenure in NBA history for a one-team player, trailing only Dirk Nowitzki’s 21 seasons in Dallas.
No other Laker has spent more than 14 seasons with the franchise. In other words, if Bryant had retired after winning his fifth title in 2010, he would still be tied for the longest run in franchise history.
Bryant is the Lakers’ career leader in games, minutes, points, field goals made and attempted, 3-pointers made and attempted, free throws made and attempted, and win shares.
Bryant was the first guard in league history to play 20 seasons. (Vince Carter has since matched, and passed, him.)
Bryant is the only player in NBA history with two different jersey numbers (nos. 8 and 24) retired by the same team.
Bryant has tied for first in career All-NBA selections, with 15—the same number as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Tim Duncan, and LeBron James.
Bryant’s 11 first-team All-NBA selections rank him behind only LeBron and tie him with Karl Malone.
Bryant is tied for second in career All-Defensive selections, with 12, and tied for first with nine first-team All-Defensive nods.
Thanks to his mix of talent, longevity, and popularity among fans, Bryant is second in career All-Star nods, with 18. (Abdul-Jabbar had 19.)
Only LeBron has scored more career points in All-Star games.
Nobody has more All-Star MVPs—Bryant won four, as did Bob Pettit a half-century earlier.
Bryant ranked third on the NBA’s all-time scoring list (33,643 points) when he retired. On Saturday night, LeBron passed him in Philadelphia, Bryant’s hometown, and bumped Kobe down to fourth.
Bryant scored 40-plus points in a game 122 times, third-most in league history behind Wilt Chamberlain and Michael Jordan.
Bryant scored 50-plus points in a game 25 times, also third-most in league history.
Bryant scored 60-plus points in a game six times, second-most in league history behind Chamberlain.
Bryant scored 81 points against the Raptors in 2006, notching the second-highest single-game total ever.
Adjusted for the era, Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal put up the highest-scoring season for any duo in NBA history (2000-01)—and the second-highest (2002-03), the fourth-highest (2001-02), and the seventh-highest (1999-00).
Bryant won five titles and earned Finals MVPs in 2009 and 2010.
No team—not even the super team Heat or Warriors—has won a three-peat since Shaq and Kobe powered the Lakers to three consecutive titles at the start of the century. For all his scoring, Bryant’s most iconic play might be a pass he threw toward the start of this run.
Combining his regular and postseason totals, Bryant played 57,278 minutes and scored 39,283 points, both ranking fourth in history. By those measures, only Abdul-Jabbar, Malone, and LeBron have been more prolific postseason forces.
Bryant is the NBA’s career leader in only one statistic: missed shots, totaling 1,064 more than second-place John Havlicek. That stat might seem like a strange choice to celebrate. But the very opportunity to shoot that often is a marker of dominance; the top 30 players in career misses are all current or future Hall of Famers. So much of Bryant’s on-court legacy was tied into his irrepressible determination to compete and to score. He shot and he kept shooting. He knew he’d miss, as the misappropriated saying goes, 100 percent of the shots he didn’t take.
Bryant’s final game proved a fitting capstone to his career. He took 50 shots, the most of any player since 1967, in a ball-dominant effort for the ages. He also scored 60 points, boosting his non-Wilt-record mentioned above, and electrified the Staples Center crowd in a blazing comeback win. That same night, at the same time, the Warriors won a record 73rd regular-season game. But all eyes were locked on Bryant, playing his role to the very end, two decades after his career began, in front of the same fans he’d always entertained.
Bryant ranks in the top five in career playoff minutes, field goals made and attempted, and points. Only LeBron, Jordan, and Abdul-Jabbar scored more points than Kobe in the playoffs. Shaq ranks fifth.”
Obviously, Kobe Bryant was a phenomenal basketball player. Many of his accomplishments will never be repeated. He was definitely a “Laker legend”.
The world is in shock over his sudden death. People literally cried in the streets. Tributes poured into L.A. from all over the world. Have you stopped to wonder why?
Here is my thought on the tragic death of Kobe Bryant. People are having a hard time processing how someone so athletic, so rich (his net worth was estimated at 600 million), so famous, so young, could suddenly die without warning. It doesn’t fit the world’s script. He was supposed to watch his daughters grow up. He was supposed to live happily ever after. He was not supposed to die so soon. Due to the sudden tragic death of Kobe, people are forced to stare at their own mortality in the eye. If he could die so soon and without warning, then so could you and I.
Here is the truth regarding life and death. The Word of God teaches that God is the originator of life. When a person is conceived, it is God who superintends the formation process in his mother’s womb. God grants life, and that person becomes a living soul. God, in His graciousness, then blesses that individual with certain gifts. Kobe was a gifted basketball player. You might be a gifted carpenter, electrician, or salesman. God gave you life, and He gave you gifts and abilities, just like He did Kobe.
The Bible also reveals to us that our life is like vapor. It is here for a moment then gone. Some of our vapors last for one hundred years, some last for forty-one years, and some last for one hour, or even one minute. We do not know how long we will live. What we do know is that we will one day die.
James 4:13-14 (ESV) – “Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit”— 14 yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.”
Hebrews 9:27 (ESV) – “And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment,”
Since this is the case, what should we do? We must prepare for our death now, for we do not know when that day will come. How do we prepare for our death? The most important thing to do to prepare for death is to settle where we will spend eternity. Death is not the end; it is the beginning of eternity. Where you spend eternity, either Heaven or Hell will depend on what you do with Jesus Christ. Everyone must settle this issue before their time of death comes. Here are some Scriptures for you to consider:
Romans 3:10 (ESV) – “as it is written: ‘None is righteous, no, not one;’”
Romans 3:23 (ESV) – “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,”
Romans 6:23 (ESV) – “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Romans 5:8 (ESV) – “but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
John 3:16 (ESV) – “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”
Romans 10:9-11 (ESV) – “because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart, one believes and is justified, and with the mouth, one confesses and is saved. 11 For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.”
I pray you consider what has been written in this article. If you have made a decision to follow Christ, please let someone know, or send me an email. Also, find a church that preaches the Bible, and worship there with other believers. This will help you grow in your spiritual life.