A quote that always comes to mind when I think of leaders is a famous one by Frederick Douglass.
“It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men.”
I started to wonder how to fathom the loss of two men that can carried the strength to build and repair. The loss of two fathers that shared that light of being a role model with the public.
We all know not every good father is able to be represented in the limelight, but knowing how well Kobe Bryant and Nipsey Hussle took care of their families sparked encouragement for the image of black men’s position in the black family. This position was lost in tragedy, spoiling the fascination of precious time with untimely death (as we see here unfortunately). This cycle of high-profile losses sent shock waves through not only community, but the world.
In the end, families are left in heartbreak following the abrupt loss of a father. What lives on is how these men impacted the lives of their families and tirelessly they worked to changed their lives for better. In transition, only a charisma that endured the fruits of what will continue like everlasting labor was set free.
Kobe Bryant and Nipsey Hussle held a mentality and image that were larger than life that allowed them to embody the shell that hosts a spirit much larger. One of one mentalities that were only suited for them. It helped them embellish tough obstacles in front of them, and make it look as less of a challenge as possible. That’s what set admiration sky high for these two.
Kobe’s life came to a tragic end at the age of 41, in a helicopter accident including his 13-year-old daughter Gianna Bryant—along with seven others in Calabasas, California.
Embodying a mentality to radiate someone that inspired many. The “repairing” of strong children is the time and devotion that was placed in to a better tomorrow provided by these two men. Kobe was only 17 when he was drafted to the NBA.
Fans knew it was a privilege to see Kobe accomplish everything he did in his 20-year career–all with the Los Angeles Lakers. He’s won five NBA titles, made 15 All-Star game appearances, former MVP of the league, and just flat out domination along with several other accomplishments.
After basketball, Kobe won an Academy Award for his short film “Dear Basketball”. The narrated illustration helped demonstrate how above and beyond his love for the game went. Life after basketball just felt even more promising as his 20-year career. He was active in coaching, supportive of the present and future of the WNBA–just knowing that his late young daughter Gianna “Gigi” Bryant was well on her way to a career.
Kobe mentored, challenged and trained with many active players such as Kyrie Irving, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Devin Booker, and more. Kobe’s game has been highlighted in their exhibition display. Kobe even went on record speaking on the type of bond he shared with current Nets point guard Kyrie Irving. When hearing the news about Kobe’s passing, Irving left the arena before the matchup with the Knicks.
Below is Nipsey Hussle speaking out on STEM programs in curriculum and investing in local entrepreneurs. On a much larger scale, advancement of technology will open up more jobs that will require science and math abilities.
According to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Fastest Growing Occupations chart projects that majority of the jobs listed on the chart with require science and math skills. The advancement of those skills can be ushered in with access to STEM schools that will shape preparation for the men and women of tomorrow in the labor field.
Proper investments in to his local community of Los Angeles provides a better chance into these schools that can potentially alleviate a heavy layer off poverty. Providing the necessary education that can land more people from inner-city communities with a chance for a high salary career. No dreams were sold to the ones reaping the benefits of Nipsey’s work ethic, he just went towards the unbelievable and made it count towards something.
The “fixing” empowered these two to grace and inspire millions across the world. The transparency that they allowed to draw a curtain, opening towards their mentality. Take note of the resilience that throttled Kobe Bryant’s and former Laker Lamar Odom’s friendship.
Odom laid it all on the line in his latest Instagram post honoring Kobe’s life. Look at how Kobe and Shaq, good friends and 3x NBA champions during their time with the Lakers together, found common ground once again. Not calling these two broken men but more so reflecting on how put together you must be to elevate towards peace. At Odom’s lowest point, Kobe left a preseason game to see about his good friend. Things like that help you understand what it truly means to be there for somebody.
People mourned in front of Nipsey’s “The Marathon Clothing Store” for multiple days and nights following his death. On that same block, Nipsey hustled and made a way to propel his dreams. Never leaving his community to turn the same block where he tangoed with his vices into luxury. That was royalty in the flesh hailing as Nipsey Hussle.
He employed many people from the community, generated revenue, and held things intact within a community. His debut album Victory Lap blossomed as a token for the work he put towards his brand. In 2018, it was dubbed as one of the better albums of the year, even went as far as a Grammy nomination for the Best Rap Album in 2019.
Everything they’ve earned while here stopped at and balanced at the crossroads. Hussle posthumously earned his first platinum album and Grammy in January 2020, almost two years after Victory Lap. The Grammy came for Best Rap Performance with the track ‘Racks In the Middle’, featuring Hit-Boy and Roddy Ricch. Kobe Bryant, who’s eligible for the Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame this year, will also be awarded with a posthumous honor.
In real-time, the world lost two fathers and men that generated value in their respective Los Angeles community. Kobe’s last game set a merchandise record with $1.2 million worth of memorabilia sold on that day in April 2016 in the Staples Center. The summary of the dollar signs generated by these two while they were here can’t amount to the priceless value of what was instilled in friends, family, and millions of followers.
Kobe mentored many with his mentality, often breaking down the game in such a crisp effort that even non-athletes can interpret. That same mindset that a non-athlete can embody. Just a few days before Kobe passed, I checked out his book in the library. The Mamba Mentality: How I Play allowed a capture of Kobe’s career highlights and mindset during his journey all in one. One of my favorite quotes I gravitated towards was:
“The mindset isn’t about seeking a result. It’s more about the process of getting to that result. It’s about the journey and the approach. It’s a way of life. I do think that it’s important, in all endeavors, to have that mentality.”
“The Marathon Continues” and “Mamba Mentality” are two motivated brands that were engineered to inspire that extra step that can keep you pushing. Rest in peace to Kobe and Gianna Bryant, and the seven other victim involved in the tragic accident in Calabasas. Rest in peace to Nipsey Hussle.