photo manipulation by nacrowe
i wrote this the day after the untimely passing of KOBE BRYANT and his daughter to be published at some undecided point in the future:
i have written before here on this blog about my formative experiences playing basketball at a young age and the undue pressures i saw being placed on my peers. i even had the opportunity in 6th grade to relate such to KURT RAMBIS at a league event (link to that entry HERE).
one of the aspects of BRYANT's post-playing career i admired was his advocacy against the growing tracking of young athletes. more and more for promising young athletes they are put in high pressure situations with coaches and leagues designed to garner attention of prominent college coaches and thereafter a route to the NBA. it was BRYANT's belief that such a system was destructive to the players and the game as a whole as it deprived the ability to experience being a kid and growing up in a non-professional environment.
as a THIRD CULTURE KID growing up in ITALY, BRYANT was lucky enough to experience basketball from his father, a journeyman professional basketball player, as well as take in the native soccer/football. these experiences informed his preparation and view of possible moves (especially footwork) down the line and in turn, his legacy crosses over into the realm of EUROPEAN FOOTBALL as well. its quite incredible.
i guess the point is that being a child means being given the opportunity to develop and be nurtured and given the opportunity to try different things. that seemed from what i read, to be the point of his academy. it wasn't so much a basketball camp as it was a leadership academy, where participants could develop the discipline and curiosity needed to excel at anything, basketball included.
the fact that he was using his name and legacy to help combat and transform children's athletics in southern CALIFORNIA is something i respect immensely. it very much reminds me of how my own parents navigated my early forays into competitive sports, they taught me that lessons learned in games were transferrable to real life. and i know for a fact that message was lost on my peers and their parents growing up.
safe travels KOBE. rest in peace.