To the editor: What is the measure of a man? In the case of Kobe Bryant, it is many things. (“Kobe Bryant, daughter Gianna among 9 dead in helicopter crash,” Jan. 26)
A star basketball player, an international star, a husband, a dad, an entrepreneur, a hero — these are just some of the titles we will use to remember Kobe Bryant. Those titles might have been obliterated from his legacy if the events of 2003 happened during today’s #MeToo movement. Yes, the sexual assault and false imprisonment charges were dropped, apologies given and payments made, but we will never know what happened behind that hotel door.
So, what measures a man?
Bryant strove for excellence after that day in 2003. He became a better man. Redemption is a unique human quality, and when it is truly achieved, we become better people and help create a better world.
So, let us look at our leaders and heroes today and ask if they redeem themselves and become better people, or if they just repeat their behavior. Let us ask our leaders and heroes to become better people, for if their lives are to end suddenly and unexpectedly, we will remember them for who they became and what they did for others.
This is what measures a man.
Sheila Galaz, La Crescenta
To the editor: It is edifying to listen to all the sports analysts and basketball insiders who had the privilege to know Bryant personally. But I write from the perspective of a young boy who hurried to finish his homework in time for the 7:30 p.m. tip-off. This was in the era of games on KCAL 9, Chick Hearn and commercials.
There was something special about Kobe even before he became Kobe. He was there to win, and nothing else. He was the antithesis of the “everybody gets a trophy” generation.
He played through injuries, legal challenges and personal struggles. When anyone else could have used them as excuses, he saw them as obstacles to be overcome. He was invincible, yet at the same time human.
This tragedy hits us hard because Bryant gave us so much, and at the very least he deserved to live a long, healthy life. It’s unjust, and we feel helpless. All we are left to do is remember and eulogize this giant.
So, Kobe, thank you for the buzzer-beaters, the parades and the celebrations. Most of all, thank you for our childhood.
Louis J. Shapiro, Los Angeles
To the editor: When Bryant’s numbers were retired by the Lakers in December 2017, the L.A. Times’ Tania Ganguli wrote of his arrival at Staples Center with his daughter who was 1 year old at the time. Bryant, she wrote, was “internally praying the flashing lights from cameras didn’t wake her. He knew she’d be a handful if they did.”
This tells me that Bryant’s last thoughts must have been for Gianna, his 13-year-old daughter, who was with him on the helicopter. Somehow I felt a greater shock to see she was lost too, and that tells me a little of Bryant’s final prayer.
Keith Fahey, Tarzana