13-year-old daughter, Gianna (Gigi) Bryant and her father, National Basketball Association (NBA) superstar, Kobe Bryant.
Yesterday when I heard about the tragic death of basketball superstar Kobe Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna (Gigi), I was in shock. The next thought was, “We know not the day nor the hour.”
Kobe and his daughter were among the nine victims of a helicopter crash on a hillside in Calabasas, California. And to be honest, my initial heading was, ‘Pray for the Bryant Family.’ But I caught myself quickly and realized, this crash is exceptionally popular worldwide because of Kobe, a celebrity being involved, and his daughter. However, we must not forget the other seven victims, all of whom have family members who are in mourning.
As I ponder this situation, it is so real that we all have plans: Plans for today. Plans for tomorrow. Plans for later this year, next year…perhaps within the next five years. But though we plan, ultimately, God is in control. He knows the day of conception, the day of birth, the day we have an appointment with death. It’s an appointment we cannot cancel or be late for. The truth is, we know not the day nor the hour. Most important is to be ready to meet the Great God of the Universe.
Admittedly, I’m not big into basketball and as a child, I was a LA Laker, simply because my father was an LA Laker. And having a brother and several cousins who are into basketball, I knew Kobe’s name, face and was well aware that he was among the greatest basketball players of all time. I don’t know much about basketball, but there are names of some players who I know are at the top of the totem pole like Kobes, Shaq, Jordans and Steph Curry.
Meanwhile, I’ve been praying for Vanessa and her three daughters. My heart goes out to her as she has to deal with the loss of her husband of 18 years and her daughter, who had not too long become a teenager. It’s a double whammy. A blow. Heartbreaking is an understatement.
What I do love, is the fact that Kobe seemed to be a family man. Despite whatever past indiscretions he made, he seemed to relish in the love he had with his wife and children. He also seemed particularly close to Gigi, perhaps because of her love for basketball and her desire to play in the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA). They were often seen together. He was her father. He was her coach and mentor.
Gigi was a rising star in her own right.
I believe this photo sums up the relationship between Gigi and her father.
We need to pray for Vanessa. She and particularly the eldest daughter, 17-year-old, Natalia need strength. However, there are also Bianka, who is three and seven-month-old Capri Kobe Bryant, who will grow up without their father’s presence. Let us all who know what it is to pray to the Almighty God, pray for this family and the families of the other seven passengers of that helicopter, who have been plunged into mourning. It’s a call no one ever wants to receive.
My prayer is that Matthew 5:4 becomes a reality to them all: “Blessed are those who weep and mourn, for they shall be comforted.”
Growing in Christ,