On February 24, friends and family of the legendary Kobe Bryant gathered to pay their final respects to the 5-time NBA Champion, father, husband, son, and friend.
Throughout the ceremony, Bryant’s closest friends took the stage to share their fondest memories and favorite stories of the legendary baller, as his wife, Vanessa Bryant, shared intimate details of their 20-year relationship. After the ceremony, many took to Instagram to express similar sentiments, including NFL legend and future Hall of Famer, Tom Brady, who penned an open letter to Bryant and his daughter, Gigi.
“I have been deeply affected by the passing of Kobe, Gigi, and the others in that tragic flight weeks ago,” Brady began. “Since then, I’ve witnessed the well-deserved outpouring of love and support for the families that had so much left to give, and it’s helped me reflect and gain perspective. I know that love, peace, and joy will always endure.”
As he continued, he opened up about Kobe’s inspiration and explained why this tragedy has affected him and so many other people in the world. “In Kobe, we were able to witness the man in the arena. For many of us, sports show what we are made of, they define our personalities and emotions. We cannot hide from the good or the bad, from the wins or the losses… the joy and despair, the happiness and the pain. What you see is what it is, we aren’t actors.”
“For some, these days are the pinnacle in their life, and there’s nothing wrong with that, but it’s clear to me, for Kobe, that was how he lived his life in every way. In his second chapter, you saw even more,” he continued. “You saw his excitement for life, and for achieving in areas only, he thought possible. He became more of an entrepreneur, black or white, rich or poor, ordinary or extraordinary, he wanted to help you become the best you could be. His mere presence had an effect on everyday he was around. He had the energy to recognize in others what they could not recognize in themselves.”
“I think that’s why I will miss him most. Because we all know the world needs more of that leadership and positivity,” Brady said. “He was the real-life superhero our world needs. That’s what we will all miss. That’s why we hurt. Because we know that he was always fighting against the norm. He was doing more then his share. Now, who is going to do the work that is still here to be done? Who is going to fight and break the norms with love and joy and inspiration? Who is going to discard fear, and doubt and hate? Who is going to carry the load and be the superhero that he was? The answer is simple to me, All of Us. Decide to make the change in yourself. If there is anything I have learned and been inspired through this tragic event, it is this, SEIZE THE DAY. That’s what Kobe always did, and that’s what he wanted for us too.”