A silver lining of losing somebody is that it forces you to re calibrate your purpose. Death makes you think about life.
I was rocked by the tragic news yesterday, along with millions of people in the United States and around the globe. Kobe meant so many things to so many people, myself included.
When Robyn and I were deciding what to name our first child, we had a guiding light. She lost her father Kenneth, and I lost my mother Blanche, so my son’s name was either going to begin with a K or a B. As we were going through this process, my wife said “what about Kolby?” Fortunately I misheard, I thought she said Kobe, and our decision was made. A “K” and a “B”, it was perfect. My mother knew how much I loved watching him play basketball, so giving our son that name was a way to keep her memory alive.
I grew up a die hard Knicks fan, and just as we were about to enter a lost decade, I was lucky to find love elsewhere. I don’t remember when and I don’t remember why, but during the playoffs one year I started rooting for Kobe. Not for the Lakers, but for Kobe. This is one of the beautiful things about sports. Fandom is not calculated, it’s pure childlike wonder. You can’t control it.
With the Knicks in the gutter, Kobe kept me in the game all those years. When he won I won, and I love him for that.
Yesterday was a day I’ll never forget, one of those flashbulb moments that stays with you for the rest of your life. My heart breaks for Vanessa and the whole Bryant family, as well as for the families of the other passengers who have to somehow live with this now. Completely unthinkable.
Losing my mother taught me to live for today and not take tomorrow for granted. Kobe’s passing is a fierce reminder of this.
Michael Batnick is a managing partner at Ritholtz Wealth Management. He is the co-host of Animal Spirits, What Are Your Thoughts, and The Compound and Friends. For disclosure information please see here.