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Opinion

Commentary: Praise two seemingly unrelated famous people for helping children: Kobe Bryant and Billie Eilish

Kobe Bryant
“Kobe Bryant had that wonderful thing that enabled him to keep in touch with people all the time — different people, diverse people, people who needed him and people he needed,” says commentary writer Sandy Asper.
(Mark J. Terrill / AP)

We have a lot to learn from Kobe Bryant and Billie Eilish.

What?

We are just now finding out what a kind of man Bryant was. I like to think if he and daughter Gianna hadn’t been on that helicopter, he would be over to the Chesters’, Altobellis’, Mausers’ and Zobayans’ houses day and night comforting them and doing all he could. His instinct would be to help.

Bryant had that wonderful thing that enabled him to keep in touch with people all the time — different people, diverse people, people who needed him and people he needed.

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His charities are legion and many help kids.

Bryant coached kids, and opened the Mamba Sports Academy.

He had stopped in December to help people involved in a traffic accident and kept in touch after. He called injured athletes with friendship and advice.

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3084529_ET_billie-eilish-live-review_AJS
Billie Eilish’s music and support for mental health has helped and inspired so many troubled kids, writes Sandy Asper.
(Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)

Billie Eilish just won five Grammys. She is 18. She is the same age as Bryant when he started for the Lakers. Really young. She had suicidal ideation, even after she became famous at the age of 13.

We have what can easily be called a pandemic among kids. Suicides have become the third-leading cause of death among teenagers in the United States.

Eilish has credited therapy with helping her manage depression, according to Rolling Stone.

Did you get that Newport-Mesa School District? Therapy? And as we know for sure, therapy equals counselors. We cannot have too many of them; so hire more.

You’re probably thinking about what a stretch it is to connect Eilish to Bryant. It’s not when you think about what people in trouble really need. In case you missed it, they need help.

I have always thought (and written ad nauseam) about what kids need. I think they need what they have always needed, but now more of it. They need one person, one person on their side, one person they can call in the middle of the night, one person who will listen with purpose to them, one person they can always count on, one person who will be with them through life, one person who will call them out of the blue. One person like Bryant.

Sometimes that person can’t be a parent. Sometimes it has to be a teacher, a counselor who steps out of his or her professional role, or even a parent of a friend.

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Both Bryant and Eilish have really shown us the way: Kobe with his unwavering help, kindness and reaching out; and Eilish with her music and her support for mental health, which has helped and inspired so many troubled kids.

So, let’s be Billie.

Let’s be Kobe.

It’s a simple as that.

Sandy Asper is a Newport Beach resident.

How to get published: Email us at john.canalis@latimes.com. All correspondence must include full name, hometown and phone number (for verification purposes). The Pilot reserves the right to edit all submissions for clarity and length.

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