“RIP Kobe 💔💔💔”
I was in disbelief when I saw a friend post on Instagram the picture and caption above of Kobe Bryant. I raced to Google to verify and, sure enough, there were news stories about Kobe Bryant’s death from a helicopter accident in California.
I’ve never been an NBA fan or closely followed a team, but I can acknowledge how hard Kobe Bryant worked to be successful on the court – 18 time all-star, five NBA championships, two Olympic gold medals, numerous records and accolades.
I knew that numerous students of mine would be mourning Kobe’s death today. I wanted to give them an opportunity and space to reflect on Kobe’s legacy with “Dear Basketball”, which is a the poem Kobe wrote to announce his retirement from the game in the fall of 2015. An animated short film was made to illustrate the poem while Bryant read it. It won an Oscar in 2018.
I invited my students to read the poem, listen to Kobe read his words, and watch the short film in an extra credit assignment today. I hope they take a bit of time away from their busy schedules to reflect on one or more of the following prompts:
- What words or phrases stand out to you in the poem? Why?
- What did you feel before, during, AND after reading/listening to the poem?
- Do you think the meaning/message of the poem has changed in light of Kobe Bryant’s death? Why?
I’m looking forward to reading the reflections and remembering Kobe with my students.
Rest in peace, Mamba.
January 26, 2021 Update: A link to the animated short film was located and added back into the post.
January 29, 2020 Update: The animated short film was taken down by the agency who worked on the film in most places on the internet for reasons unknown.