Man oh man 2020 has started pretty crappy. From the Coronavirus in Wuhan(China) and Wildfires in New South Wales(Australia) happening around the world…. To feeling the tragic loss of not one but 2 L.A. LEGENDS. I know one of them passed last year but it feels like the wounds weren’t completely healed yet.
Now I’m not gonna front and act like the passing of Nipsey really hurt me when I first heard. I mean I knew who he was, but I didn’t know what he meant. Seeing now the effect he had on some of my close family members, friends, and LA… Damn… Its crazy how close I was to that scene but I never really paid attention. I grew up going to church at Crenshaw Christian Center, which is like a 5 minute drive from his Marathon Clothing Store and I must have went to Woody’s Bar-B-Q (in the shopping center next door) a million times after church. My cousins still live down the street on Slauson and Western. Like I said, I was there but I wasn’t really aware.
He was a symbol, he had no fear and stood for peace. He spoke out about bringing everyone together instead of killing each other in many of his songs. A great example of someone growing up in a less than ideal situation making something out of it. What he did with the cards he was dealt is all because of his “Dedication, Hard Work, Plus Patience”
The Marathon Continues
Kobe, on the other hand, thats a different story. Despite never meeting him personally, I watched him Grind all my life. My parents were HUGEEEEE Lakers fan so my siblings and I were kinda born into it. My dad was a Kobe fan from day 1! Me, on the other hand, it took some convincing. “Tracy McGrady has the heart, Allen Iverson has the handles, heck Ray Allen has the best shot” I would argue… But he always told me “Uh Huh, just watch.” It wasn’t until 2000 when I finally believed him. The night they came back in the 4th and beat Portland in game 7 solidified it for me. Kobe is the best basketball player ever.
The next season my dad got season tickets to both the Lakers and Clippers, we were spoiled… But there was one problem, we only had 2 seats. My brother and I would argue about who was going with my dad to the game, but it didn’t really matter. We both knew daddy’s little princess would bat her eyes and off they would go. Leaving us to watch the game with mommy lol. When I was old enough to babysit my parents would leave me in charge while they went and had date night. I would turn on the game and sit in front of the tv, glued to the screen, wearing my #8 Jersey and holding a basketball.
The Clippers would win sometimes during the regular season and I would tell my dad Corey Maggette and Elton Brand were better than his beloved Shaq and Kobe. Hahaha. I rooted for the Clippers just to be a rebel, but deep down I knew Kobe would never let the Clippers win. Year after year he would just torch his opponents, Penny, T-Mac, Vince, Raja, Peja, I mean the list goes on and on.
I can go on with basketball stories all day but it was more than that. It was what he stood for. Kobe could never lose! I mean NEVER!!!! His teammates tell stories about him being the first one in the gym and the last one to leave. My dad always used that to fuel me when I played sports growing up. Whether it was basketball, football, or even swim… Whatever you did, Kobe inspired you to do better.
Now I said all that just to show you how 2 different people with completely different backgrounds, dreams, and ideas managed to accomplish something similar. Of course Kobe had more of a global impact and he was the greatest to ever do it. But Nip also had a huge impact on others.
We need to wake up and make sure we are setting the bar for the generation to come. I know everyone makes New Years resolutions and most people already messed up… but that doesn’t mean you have to stop there… So what, you got knocked off course?!?!?! Don’t give up, Get up! Once you give into that defeated train of thought it’s hard to get out of that rabbit hole. It’s never too late to snap out of it!
First you need to realize you’re going the wrong way then you need to adjust your course wisely. There’s nothing wrong with admitting you messed up. Yeah it might not be easy but it’s doable… You have to start somewhere so what better time than now.