Mamba Out!

Yesterday, I was on my way to Daddy / Daughter Haircare Event sponsored by The Man in Me with whom I serve as the Development Director. This event was so empowering for me because I learned from a professional how to retwist my daughter’s locs. While I was doing my daughter’s hair, Kobe Bryant, one of the greatest basketball players in the history of the world was dying with his daughter in a helicopter crash.

Daddy / Daughter Hair Care Day

At 41 years old, Kobe Bryant has won 5 world championships, 2 Finals MVP’s and 20 years with the same organization the Los Angeles Lakers. He was building a production company where he’d just won an Oscar for a documentary about his life in basketball. He was married to his wife Vanessa and had 4 children including 13-year old Giana who died in the helicopter crash with him. He is undoubtedly a first ballot hall of famer and one of the top 10 players in NBA history.

I want to share three things I’ve learned from Kobe’s life and subsequent death.

1. Leadership is Born and Bred

Leadership is the ability to influence others to do what needs to be done to move themselves or an organization towards their mission, vision and values. In the game of basketball, the team goal is always to win the game, win the division, win the conference, and then the NBA World Championship. Individual goals can include winning the scoring championship, being selected to the All-Star team or winning league MVP. No can accomplish team or individual goals without leadership.

Kobe was born as a basketball leader to a father who played professional basketball. Kobe was gifted enough to be a leader in high school based primarily based on his skills. As he was drafted to the NBA as a 17-year old, his skills were not enough to get him where he wanted to go. He had to breed leadership through learning his teammates and influencing them to play to their highest level. After 3 straight championships, Shaquille O’Neal his partner in crime left the team and he was left to lead alone. The next two championships meant so much to him because he helped his teammates be their best selves. Yes he was born with leadership abilities but he grew those skills to become a better leader.

2. Maturity – Mistakes Don’t Define You

I define maturity as not making the same mistakes over and over again. All of us make mistakes, we’re human. But if we continue making the same mistakes, that is lack of maturity. Kobe made a mistake in 2003. He engaged in a sexual relationship with a woman in Colorado. He was charged but not convicted. He later gave his wife a multi carat ring and apologized to her, the NBA, and his team.

He continued counseling and together he and his wife rebuilt their marriage and expanded their family with 4 children. He became a man who was known as a husband and father. He coached his daughter’s basketball team and was taking her to a basketball experience on this trip when they’re lives ended together. Kobe owned his mistakes and made different decisions in the future. Today, he is being remembered as a great basketball prayer but just as much as a husband and father.

3. Family First | Legacy over Liability

Our family is our ultimate legacy in this world. Our relationships with our parents and siblings are an investment that we build on through our future endeavors. If we’re blessed to have a spouse and / or children we are gifted with to steward, it is our responsibility to leave a good legacy.

  • Invest in experiences not just items.
  • Forgive quickly because bitterness kills.
  • Ask questions instead of making statements.
  • Never leave your family without saying I love upon
  • Leave a legacy faith – introduce your children to Jesus not just the joys of toys.

Kobe will be missed. He finished well. He worked hard, he amassed a great deal of income and influence but he would give it all back to be here with his family. So, I say treat everyday as a present because it is, love God and love people.

Real Love

In 1992, Mary J. Blige released the song, “Real Love” with lyrics like:

Real love
I’m searchin’ for a real love
Someone to set my heart free
Real love
I’m searchin’ for a real love

I was in high school when this song came out and was always looking for love. I was looking for a girlfriend that would affirm me and accept me for who I was. I found myself looking for the love of my parents who were always accepting and affirming. I also looked for love from my peers as I was being nominated for class favorite or student government. All of the issues I had with low self-esteem from being a nerd and being stuck in the friend zone were based on how people viewed me.

As a college student, I finally embraced that God created me to be me and I needed to live as the unique person he created me to be. According to Psalm 139:14, I am fearfully and wonderfully made. According to Ephesians 2:10, I am God’s handiwork. According to Genesis 1:31 as a person that is created by God, his view of me as his creation is very good. This perspective allowed me to begin living life to the fullest because I was no longer basing my value on who people said I was, I based my value on who God said I was. People change, God doesn’t! So now I can live a life where I am constantly loved and valued by God. So if things are rocky at work, home, the world; I can still make good decisions out of the foundation of being loved by God.

So as this Valentine’s Day continues, many who are single (not married or dating), dating (not married), engaged (not married), or married struggle to accept the real love that will be the foundation for all the love they experience in life.

John 3:16 is the most famous verse in the world and is a descriptive verse about the love God has for us.

It says, “ For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

So when asking about the Valentine’s, the day of love, we should not have to ask what did we receive as much as we focus on what we have given. Because real love gives. Keep giving and you will keep feeling the love of God flowing through you to others.