You know exactly where you were when you heard the horrid news. I was sitting at my computer when I saw a text message from my daughter saying one thing: “in a helicopter accident.”
For those of you who don’t know, my daughter has had her fair share of daredevil stunts. My heart initially dropped, thinking she went on some exciting Groupon helicopter excursion with her college friends. When I opened the text, I realized I was just seeing the third of three text messages that she was sending me, telling me of Kobe Bryant’s passing.
As you can imagine, I was instantly relieved that my daughter was OK, but also in immediate denial and shock. Generational basketball great Kobe Bryant perishes in a crash?!? Wait, I’m not ready for this. It has to be a lie!
I began to search multiple respectable news outlets, praying it was a lie. But it wasn’t. It was undeniably true.
We were then taken on a roller coaster of false reports. Our heartstrings were pulled as we read account after account that all four of his daughters, as well as ex-teammate Rick Fox, perished in the same accident. When the smoke cleared and all clout chasers were dismissed, we were left with the very unfortunate news of the passing of nine passengers total, two being basketball legend Kobe Bryant and his #Mamacita, 13-year-old daughter Gianna Bryant, a rising basketball star herself.
As heartbreaking as this news was, we learned of the undying love Kobe had for his daughters, proudly coining himself a “girl dad” in an interview with Sports Center Anchor Elle Duncan. Our timelines were continuously flooded with videos of Bryant’s dedication to including his family and daughters in his life, spending as much quality time with them as he could even though he was what many consider a GOAT (greatest of all time). And even though he had so many accomplishments with basketball, being a dad and husband were the most important roles in his life, roles that he grew into with time.
As these videos continued to tear pieces of our hearts away, they also made us realize the importance of our lives here on earth and the importance of being an active member in our own family units.
What we were feeling and sharing in those initial few days is what I call “The KB Effect.” It’s the realization of what’s really important in life. Whether that’s being a loving daughter to your father or being a loving husband to your wife, we all wanted to find something more purposeful outside of our social media lives. Fathers from all over who are admirers of Bryant, or just proud fathers of daughters, began to post pictures with their daughters, reigniting the importance of fatherhood to the world.
Seeing this instead of the normal nonsense we are subjected to on social media has made me feel human again. We’re demonstrating something totally real … the wanting of the love of those closest to us instead of the false love of IG/FB likes.
This tragic event just might have turned into something unexpectedly beautiful. How could something so horrific that happened to someone we didn’t even know personally affect us so greatly that we feel the need to be better human beings? It’s because we see those pictures, images and audio of KB with his family, and we either see that in — or want that for — our own lives.
Never ever let anyone tell you that one person cannot change the world to make it a better place. I feel better knowing that there are so many great fathers out there, proud of their daughters and families. I feel better knowing that, in both life and death, Kobe Bryant has made the world a better place.
I am Ro’Yale and I am a proud daddy’s girl. SIP Kobe and Gianna Bryant … you will never be forgotten.
About Ro’Yale: Ro’Yale is a plus-size pole fit instructor and YouTube sensation based out of Atlanta, Georgia. She loves fitness, competing in pole-fit competitions, catching up with her college-aged daughter and playing cards. Her goal is to inspire all women around the world to feel sexy in the skin they’re in.