• Connor Wood

Tragedy Turned to Profit

Updated: Apr 10, 2020

Before I start this piece, I want to send my deepest condolences to the entire Bryant family as well as the other families as they move forward through this nightmare.

On January 26, 2020, when the news broke that the 41-year-old died in a helicopter accident, everyone was in complete shock. This is a guy that people watched go out on the hardwood every night and give it his all. Load management didn’t exist for Kobe Bryant.

Over his 20 year career with the Lakers, he won 5 NBA Championships, 2 Finals MVP awards, 1 MVP Award and appeared in 18 all-star games. These are numbers that most people can only accomplish playing 2k. These numbers are what anything expected from a 17-year-old entering the league right out of high school.

I’m going to talk about two things in this piece that transpired Sunday that show how disgusting the world really is.

The news about Kobe’s passing hadn’t been out for more than an hour when I went on to NBAstore.com to look at his jersey in hopes of buying one. The NBA store rose the price of his jersey 200 dollars in a matter of an hour, hoping to make a profit off his death. Kobe was someone who put his blood, sweat and tears into the NBA, and it showed every night on the floor, and they showed him a degree of disrespect by trying to use his death as an avenue to bring more money in.

Yes, they honored him before the games that day and everyone had someone nice to say. I’m not saying that wasn’t sincere or meaningful, but the way they treated this situation from a business standpoint is disgusting and should be pointed out to a larger scale of people.

The second thing I want to mention is many parts of the media were a bunch of senseless, inhumane animals on Sunday.

Yes, it is the field that I want to eventually work in, but I would not have the audacity to stick a microphone in the face of someone who is visibly distraught and question him about his thoughts.

Yes, they are public figures, and yes, we as sports fans want to hear what they say, but damn let them have a day to grieve. One video that stands out is the one of Doc Rivers. They had him on camera for four minutes crying, and the media continued to ask questions while this guy who knew Kobe was still trying to process what has happened.

I get it, It is their job to get quotes and to inform the rest of the sports world and the world as a whole, but these basketball players, these coaches, they are still people. Just because someone is a public figure doesn’t mean they can be stone-faced and answer questions about someone who they considered a mentor, or a friend or even a brother.

Kobe Bryant (right) and daughter Gianna (left) were both killed in helicopter crash Sunday. (Photo via CBS)

Another problem with the media is trying to force out a story to get it out first and being incorrect. There were numerous stories circulating saying the entire Bryant family was on board, and there were others saying five people were in the plane, wait no, seven people.

With an event of this magnitude, I’d suggest allowing law enforcement to do their job with identification and body count before we jump the gun. Specifically TMZ, because there have been reports saying that Vanessa Bryant, Kobe’s wife, found out about the plane crash through their article. We as media personnel need to put our jobs on the back burners every once in a while and allow people in grief to grieve.

One analyst who took the time to talk in front of the camera the day of the accident was ESPN reporter Jay Williams. He spoke straight from the heart about someone he was close with.

“Today is a tough day, and I hope that everyone at home you give that person, whatever you have going on with them, whether it is small or big, let that sh*t go,” Williams said. “None of that stuff matters, this is about life, and being precious with every damn second we have here.”

I think I speak for everyone here at 1306 Sports when I say we send our deepest condolences to all the families involved, and all the people who have been touched by this tragedy. #24 is the reason many of us are sports fans and the Mamba Mentality will live on for generations to come.

“The most important thing is to try and inspire people so that they can be great in whatever they want to do.” -Kobe Bryant

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