It is a very Monday Monday over here, so I’m hoping you all have a cup (or two of coffee) in hand and are ready to take on your week, wherever you may be in the world.
By now you almost certainly have heard of the tragic passing of Kobe Bryant, his 13-year-old daughter and seven others, who died in a helicopter crash outside of Los Angeles Sunday morning.
This is not a basketball blog, obviously, and Bryant is a complicated figure whose legacy and death could not possibly be analyzed in a column of this nature. Given that it is less than 24 hours later, it is probably too soon to search for words to analyze it in any form.
But Kobe, as complicated a figure as he was, was not only a hero to so many, he was responsible for building the modern landscape of sports and defining what a modern athlete looks like. For my generation, nourished on sports and basketball in particular in the post-Jordan world, Kobe was THE defining athlete of his generation. In that sense, any sport we watch is colored by his legacy.
It is also worth noting that he was a massive soccer fan, brought on by his upbringing in Europe, way before it was cool for American celebrities to take a passing interest in the game.
Kobe Bryant gone too soon. No words can do justice for what you meant to Los Angeles, basketball, and sport. So saddened. Rest In Peace Kobe and Gianna. . Deepest condolences to his family. #legend #father #inspiration pic.twitter.com/9PuJbChY2p— Cobi Jones (@cobijones) January 26, 2020
We have no words to express how shocked we are to hear of the tragic passing of one of the greatest sportsmen of all time and Rossonero fan, Kobe Bryant. All our thoughts are with the families of those affected by this tragic accident. You will forever be missed, Kobe ❤️ pic.twitter.com/FOd365chEL— AC Milan (@acmilan) January 26, 2020
We are shocked and saddened to learn of the tragic passing of Kobe Bryant.— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) January 26, 2020
The world of sport has lost a true legend. We send our heartfelt condolences to the friends and families of all the victims at this terribly sad time. pic.twitter.com/ZuNk5SClEe
That goes equally for the women’s game, of which Kobe was a noted and frequent supporter. Again, it has become in vogue for celebrities to support the U.S. Women’s National Team here but it was interesting to see him do it before it was cool.
Kobe always showed up for us. He was there before 2015. He continued to be there after 2019.— U.S. Soccer WNT (@USWNT) January 26, 2020
We’ll miss you and we’ll miss Gigi. Rest In Peace, friend. We’ll carry that Mamba Mentality forever. pic.twitter.com/SQQX4lss5W
The outpouring of grief has not necessarily been a surprise for a figure so beloved and whose death was so shocking (I literally could not believe the news when I first heard it). The reactions of most people were complex, sadness tinged with shock tinged with “why do I feel this way about a celebrity?” If you are a survivor of sexual assault, I would imagine the reaction is even more complicated.
But grief is hard. I saw somewhere on social media, someone raise questions about why it takes a celebrity death to remind us to value our life, to hug our family, to tell our friends we care.
That is all true I guess. But those with wealth and power and worldwide notoriety are the ones we most believe will never die. When that veneer of immortality it broken, it brings forth a torrent of emotion.
All I’m saying is this: tell people that you love them, that you care, that you’re thankful they’re in your life.
Now onto some less dark matters to lighten the mood:
Shameless Self Promotion
Sam Rowan wonders aloud if the new year means a new Whitecaps MO as the team departs for its first pre-season tune ups
Best of the Rest
If you want a full preseason schedule for the Caps and their MLS rivals, look no further
From The Province, a fuller look at the most recent pair of homegrown signings
Might the Caps have a new winger in town?
Had this just sent to me ... after a little digging, it would appear that the #7 jersey belongs to David Milinkovic from Hull City. The English Championship club is apparently willing to let him leave on a free should he find a new club. (H/T @_anson_k)#VWFC pic.twitter.com/uony6OcD0V— (@GlassCityFC) January 27, 2020
Chicharito is backtracking after calling MLS “the beginning of my retirement,” bringing the trolls out of the woodwork everywhere
On a related note, a nice Grant Wahl look at El Traffico in a Carlos Vela-Chicharito world