A push alert on my phone on Sunday notified me that Kobe Bryant died. It was morbidly appropriate: an impersonal message meant for countless people, sent directly to me on a personal device telling me that someone I had never met but felt like I knew was gone. I was in a glum funk for the rest of the day.
Basketball was my first athletic love, and it has been my longest. It shaped how I think about life and provided me with a perpetual sense of belonging. My earliest memories were of Michael Jordan, but by then, he was already established and nearing the end of his prime years. Kobe was the player of mygeneration. He wasn’t necessarily my favorite player, but he was one of them, and he defined the era that allowed me to feel like the game was also mine, not a loan or a hand-me-down.
I know that this is an MMA column and that Bryant was a basketball player. Though he was involved in some unique moments of the sport, his connection is larger and more essential…Like