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Kobe Bryant Was Beloved But What Did He Love?

January 28, 2020
“Kobe Bryant” by genewang0123 is licensed under CC BY 2.0

By WQPH Contributor Dan McKinnon – 1/28/2020

What’s left to write that hasn’t already been written? So much has been said about the tragedy that has befallen Kobe Bryant and his daughter, Gianna. And, in turn, befallen us all. But there’s a very important part to the story that is hanging quietly in the wings waiting to be told. One that you likely won’t find in the largest media outlets around the world.

Kobe Bryant was a Catholic man of faith.

Early on, Bryant had difficulties in his personal life, facing a sexual assault charge that was later dismissed in a settlement with the accuser.

During a 2015 interview with GQ, he said that confronting those challenges led him to consider certain life choices he was making and return to his faith for guidance.

“The one thing that really helped me during that process – I’m Catholic, I grew up Catholic, my kids are Catholic – was talking to a priest. It was actually kind of funny: He looks at me and says, ‘Did you do it?’ And I say, ‘Of course not.’ Then he asks, ‘Do you have a good lawyer?’ Uh, yeah, he’s phenomenal. So, then he just said, ‘Let it go. Move on. God’s not going to give you anything you can’t handle, and it’s in His hands now. This is something you can’t control. So, let it go.’ And that was the turning point,” Bryant told GQ.

That encounter that ultimately reconnected Bryant with his Catholic faith occurred sometime in 2003. And it would stand to reason that he continued to lean on his faith from that point forward in his life. As was recently reported by several news outlets, Kobe Bryant took his daughter to the 7:00 AM Mass at Our Lady Queen of the Angels where they both received Communion before ultimately boarding that fateful helicopter flight.

But there’s just a bit more to this story if you dig just a little bit deeper. You see, who exactly gets up at 5:30 AM on a lazy Sunday morning so that they can make sure that they get to the 7:00 AM Mass because they have a basketball game that will take place later that morning? Only someone to whom faith is very important.

I take many lessons from Kobe’s life. And certainly, how to execute a perfect fade-away jump-shot is one. But the subtle message he left behind for me is of far greater importance; a man who was idolized by so many made certain that he made time for God.

Let’s appreciate that for just a moment.

Should it come as any surprise really? That the man who was blessed with all the talent in the world, but yet practiced tirelessly as though he had none, would also be steadfast when it came to a more significant practice… the practice of his faith.

God bless Kobe Bryant and his beautiful daughter, and God rest their souls. May they be held tonight in the palm of His hands.

© 2020 – WQPH and Dan McKinnon