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Kobe Bryant was his own physics. All matter and motion, seemingly gravity-defiant. Or maybe it is more accurate to say he was Mt. Kilimanjaro, unmoving and not easily conquered. A kind of natural wonder. Or maybe that he was art—textural, operatic, insistent on worship. But even those descriptions seem to fail the totality of his grace and complexity as an athlete, son, father, friend, and cultural totem. In his playing career, Bryant wore the hat of hero and villain, living his life at a magnificent volume. Of his most unmistakable trademarks, it was his viper-intensity, his steely dedication and refusal to be made small by opponents, that defines him in the grandest of hues. Winning was all he would accept. He submerged himself so passionately in the game that his drive to win was often mistaken for arrogance. Which is not to say he wasn’t arrogant, because his early years were very much a theater of ego-mania, often to a fault, but then again how could he not be, how could we not expect him to be: He was a goddamn Emerson poem, lyrical and profound and full of difficult meaning.
Kobe Bryant is dead at 41. The former all-star shooting guard of the Los Angeles Lakers was among nine people, including his 13-year-old daughter Gianna, who died in a helicopter crash on Sunday in Calabasas, California. The reality of the tragedy is a nauseating paradox: It counters everything fans have come to accept about Bryant’s talents. As Hollywood endings go, this one does not obey the logic of Kobe lore. He had mastered the air—racking up five NBA championships in an awe-inspiring twister of last-second daggers, pull-up jumpers, pump-fakes, chandelier-shattering tomahawks, and corkscrew fade-aways that tested the assumptions of what was humanly possible—and thus, the reasoning went, he could never...
(Excerpt) Read more at: Wired
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