Searching For Speech

I have to admit ... what do I say?

A week ago Sunday, the basketball world plummeted to a state of shock.

A week ago Sunday, the soul of Los Angeles shattered into pieces.

A week ago Sunday, an unthinkable tragedy effected so many more than imaginable.

What do I say?

The sudden death of basketball icon Kobe Bryant rippled across Southern California. But you knew that.

His legacy in the sport of basketball would be sobbed over, shouted out, and celebrated by his fans, peers, and proteges. But you knew that.

The second act he was developing post-NBA would be acknowledged and wondered about. But you knew that.

What I didn't know, or expect, was how many lives Bryant uplifted through more than his fame. An event that staggered an entire planet staggered me with the overwhelming response. But you knew that.

Honestly, there's nothing I can add to the conversation. Since January 26th, everyone (I mean, everyone) with a media outlet presence has shared their thoughts on the tragedy. From the on-court greatness to the post-career dreams, the glowing reflections of Bryant's life have flooded that sports news cycle.

So, what do I say?

The NBA tributes have been nothing but glorious. The creativity and kismet of the shot-clock and backcourt violations have been nothing short of incredible. The emotion of peers such as Shaquille O'Neal and Jay Williams have been nothing short of heart-breaking. The crowds gathered throughout the week outside Staples Center have been mind-boggling.

So, what do I say?

There is also a side to this that isn't destined for canonization. Bryant's 2003 rape allegation is part of the story, even if that doesn't make it into the obituary. I'm a religious watcher of ESPN's "Around the Horn", and I've been appreciative of host Tony Reali's philosophy on life in general. This week, he reminded us that human lives aren't all saintly or evil. It's understandable why some will never forgive him for that. But this isn't the first public figure to face this conundrum.

So, what do I say?

The tributes to Gianna Bryant have been quite poignant. Kudos to the Connecticut women's basketball program, USA Women's Basketball, the Brooklyn Nets, the Lakers, and others for showing their support for a young life gone way too soon.

So, what do I say?

I guess the best thing I can say is that I hope that we can find more commemoration. The Bryants will continue to be celebrated. The NBA will move on with new stars and legends set to enter the Association.

But I hope that the lives of the others lost in this tragedy can be celebrated just as much. I hope that for Gianna Bryant's two teammates who won't get to ever dribble a ball again. I hope that for the Orange Coast College baseball coach that helped so many players grow up over the years. I hope that for the three mothers that won't get to see their children become adults. I hope that for the pilot who did what he could to save all on board.

In the end, if that's all I can say, I hope it is good enough.

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