Since the news broke yesterday, I’ve been trying to find the words. But it’s hard.

Kobe Bean Bryant is gone and it’s difficult, really difficult.

It’s crazy how quickly someone can be taken.

I was heading into a movie yesterday when I got the news. Dre messaged our Slack channel and the message was just simply “Guys…..Kobe just died in a helicopter crash.”

My first reaction was not to believe it. No way one of the greatest players of all time just randomly dies on a Sunday. But a Twitter search quickly took me aback and showed me that’s how life works sometimes.

It was true. I didn’t really know what to think. I was stunned and to steal from words from my guy Deke, I was truly gutted.

I put my phone in my pocket and tried to enjoy the movie. As soon as it was over I dove back in, trying to find how this could possibly happen. By then, news had broke that Gianna, Kobe’s 13-year-old daughter, and seven others were involved in the crash.

Truly heartbreaking.

My girlfriend showed me the news as we walked out of the movie theatre and I simply just said “I saw” because I couldn’t really put any words around it. Shortly after, as we walked through a few stores, doing a little shopping, she looked at me after I had posted a photo of Kobe to Instagram.

She asked me “Are you one of those people who mourn celebrities?”

I honestly answered No. But, I followed up with “Kobe is Different” because he was. Kobe wasn’t a normal athlete/celebrity. Kobe was a guy who impacted the lives of so many without really know it.

Kobe was different.

Growing up, I idolized Kobe. He was the reason I started playing basketball. His turnaround jumper in the lane. The countless amount of moments where he left his mark on the league. His 81-point game against the Raptors or scoring 60-points in the final game of his career. And you’d be lying if you have never shot a piece of trash into the trash can and yelled “KOBEEEEEEEE.”

Man, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve done that.

But, see that’s what made Kobe different than the deaths of other celebrities. He left such an impact on society because of who he was as a person.

He didn’t become one of the greatest players of all time by natural talent, he worked at it. When other players took vacations in the offseason, Kobe was in the gym working at 5:30 in the morning looking to get better.

That’s who Kobe was and that’s what made him so unforgettable, that’s what made him a LEGEND.

But, see, Kobe wasn’t a legend just because of his accomplishments on the court, but what he was able to do off of it. He was a mentor, a life teacher, a guy that just wanted to pass on any pieces of advice that he could.

As you dive back through his interviews from over the years, he sprinkled in pieces of advice left and right. From what motivates him, to the mantra’s he lives by. Deke shared an interview of him yesterday that just hit different.

In life, you just gotta keep putting one foot in front of the other. No matter the situation, just keep moving forward, keep living life and don’t get bogged down in the small things in life.

It made me think. Think of all the small stuff that we let bother us every day. A person stealing our parking spot, a barista at Starbucks messing up our order or someone taking too long in line. So many things could be added to this list and it just seems meaningless.

Just enjoy life. Don’t let that small stuff bother you. He left that impression on everyone. And Jay Williams made that stuff hit home even more yesterday.

I think for a lot of people, this one is going to sit for awhile. Kobe, along with Gianna, were taken way too soon and that shit hits hard.

Kobe, you’re gone but for everything you’ve done for the game, for the league, for people’s lives, THANK YOU!

R.I.P. KOBE BEAN BRYANT