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Kobe Bryant

In Forge. More on Medium.

A one-sided relationship can inspire the same grief as losing a loved one

Photo: Michael Tullberg/Getty Images

I can tell you what episode of I was watching when I learned that my mother had died. But I can also tell you that I was floating in my grandmother’s swimming pool when I heard about Princess Diana. And I know that I was waiting for a table at a California Pizza Kitchen when the news of Michael Jackson’s death broke.

I was at book club on Sunday when I heard about Kobe Bryant. I’ve never even watched an NBA game, but if you ask me 10 years from now where I was when I learned about the…

Kobe Bryant’s death has raised difficult questions about how we express grief for imperfect people — that is, all of us

A Los Angeles Lakers fan, Victor, mourns the death of retired NBA star Kobe Bryant. Photo: Rachel Luna/Getty Images

When basketball legend Kobe Bryant was killed in a helicopter crash along with his daughter and seven other passengers, the international outpouring of grief was swift and passionate.

Bryant was many things to many people. He was an 18-time NBA All-Star with five championships and two Olympic gold medals. He was a businessman, a philanthropist, a father of four.

He was also charged with sexual assault in 2003. The case against him was dropped after his accuser refused to testify, but a civil suit was settled out of court, and Bryant later issued a public apology.

Since the news of…

Lessons from the Lakers legend

Photo: Christian Petersen/Getty Images

“There’s nothing really special about Kobe,” longtime Lakers head trainer Gary Vitti once said on the podcast.

He was talking about the fact that Kobe Bryant was big, but not that big. He was quick, but not that quick. And he was powerful, but not the most powerful player that coaches had ever seen.

“I mean, there were other players that had more talent than he did, so what was there about him that more talented players had zero rings and he ended up with five?” Vitti asked.

That answer becomes clear in the flood of stories…

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