“Even though our time in this life is temporary, if we live well enough, our legacy will last forever.”

Idowu Koyenikan

Last Sunday, while working on my blog, I began receiving notifications on my phone saying Kobe Bryant was killed in a helicopter crash in Calabasas.  In disbelief, I turned on the T.V. and sat there watching and listening for hours hoping to hear it wasn’t true. But unfortunately, the news got worse. Nine lives were lost, I immediately began to pray for ALL of the families.  Processing that families-parents and their children,-died together was heart-breaking.  It was devastating. The grief for ALL the families was hard to fathom but the loss of Kobe and his daughter, Gianna was mind-blowing. Freaking unreal!!

Today, Dr. LaMonte King, pastor of Friendly Friendship Baptist Church preached a sermon of healing for the loss of Kobe Bryant and I thought I’d share a paraphrased version as my weekly blog. His sermon was entitled “Value in a good name.” The Scripture was Proverbs 22:1- A good name is more desirable than great riches; to be esteemed is better than silver or gold. 

Dr. King told us that Solomon wrote this scripture. But who was Solomon? Solomon was the son of David. When Solomon ascended to the throne, he sought out GOD, and GOD gave him the opportunity to ask for whatever he wanted. Solomon asked GOD for the wisdom to lead. Not wealth. Not riches. Not fame. He asked for wisdom. GOD granted him both: wisdom and wealth. Solomon understood the importance of character building and knew that there was value in a good name. He knew it was better to be held in high esteem than to be wealthy. Through this scripture, Solomon suggests that we should:

1. Choose Character over wealth. Life is filled with choices but the choice we ought to make is to have a good name. We should choose to have our name represent-integrity, esteem. Our name should be worthy of respect. We must realize that once we make our choice, our choice then begins to make us. Kobe chose a life of purpose and lived with urgency. He discovered his passion early, gained the wisdom to excel at his passion and his character and talent added value to his name. Like Solomon’s, Kobe’s good name had virtue.

2. Good Character is more valuable than wealth. Wealth doesn’t require good character. You can have wealth without having a good character. Just look at our president. Riches add no value to our lives but a good name does. You can’t have good character without having virtue. You can’t have virtue without having a good name. On the court, Kobe had 5 championship rings, beat records, scored 81 points in a single game but off the court, he changed lives. Kobe, as great of an athlete as he was, wanted to be remembered as a man who inspired children to reach their dreams. To believe in themselves. Not for his accomplishments. Through his actions, Kobe added value to his name. Like Solomon, Kobe chose character over wealth.

3. Wealth goes away but a good name will ALWAYS represent virtue. We will all be remembered by how we lived. When we think of virtue and respect we think about individuals like -MLK Jr., Rosa Parks, Malcolm X, Cicely Tyson, Barack, and Michelle Obama, Tyler Perry, etc. When we hear their names, we don’t think about their wealth, we think of their character. We know their deeds. A good name looks like someone who is: a peacemaker, someone raising other people’s children, someone sacrificing time to feed the homeless, someone who tutors children, etc. No one is perfect!! Everyone has a BUT…alcoholism, liar, cheater, dishonest, lazy, self-righteous, jealousy, etc., She’s nice BUT she drinks. He’s a good guy BUT he’s a cheater. Kobe wasn’t perfect either, he had his buts BUT his good name was infused with virtue. Like Solomon Kobe chose wisdom.

Kobe was a phenom on the court and phenomenal as a person. Kobe proved not only to be knowledgeable but he put his wisdom into action in the way he lived his life. Kobe died a happy man. He fulfilled all of his basketball goals. He received and gave love. He touched the lives of others. He gave them encouragement, hope, and support. In his 41 years of living, he understood that choosing character would add value to his name. But perhaps the most important character that he developed was the love and joy he received being a father, husband, and family man.

On January 26, 2020, Kobe and his daughter, Gianna along with seven other ESTEEMED individuals- baseball coach John Altobelli, his wife, Keri, and their basketball-playing daughter Alyssa; Payton Chester-Mamba Team member and her mother Sarah;  Mamba Academy basketball coach Christina Mauser; and pilot Ara Zobayan lost their lives in a tragic helicopter accident. Even though they are no longer with us, the way they lived their lives added value to their good names leaving a legacy full of virtue and for this, our lives were made better.

Rest well, Kobe and Gianna, John, Keri, and Alyssa Altobelli, Payton and Sarah Chester, Christina Mauser; and pilot Ara Zobayan.. You’ll forever be in our hearts, minds, and prayers. Keep ALL of these families in your prayers.

SHIP TALK: Where were you when you heard of the helicopter crash?

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