BY TRIPP CLARKE
Generally speaking, our 321Blink blog focuses on areas that relate to our services or offerings where we have particular expertise or knowledge which we can then impart to our customers, colleagues, and readers in general… this isn’t one of those.
And, there is really nothing here that you will be reading for the first time or will be groundbreaking in anyway. But my blog writing exercise falls in the midst of the sudden passing of Kobe Bryant and the days of memories and accolades that follow. It also falls in the wake of my father’s passing less than a month ago. Although I’m in no way putting my father and Kobe Bryant in the same light, both were Giants in their own right yet worlds apart with respect to their contributions and the lives they touched. While one made indelible contributions to sports, to the lives of our youth, to a beautiful family of strong women, and to the millions of fans who adored him… the other made indelible contributions to the local business community, to the lives of future leaders, to local non-profits and arts organizations, and to a family who will always adore him. What Kobe and my father shared was an unquenchable work ethic and a strong commitment to doing good in the world, both of which are achievable by anyone and everyone who decides that’s what they’re going to do. Not everyone can be an NBA star and not everyone can lead a multi-billion-dollar organization… physicality, opportunity, timing, all play a role in those stars aligning. But, every one of us can push ourselves, can work hard to be better, and can choose to be a force of good in the world. The giants who achieve greatness, who we all look up to, cast a very large shadow and one that can often be overwhelming and intimidating. In the NBA Michael Jordon was one of those giants who cast a large shadow. When Kobe Bryant was signed by the LA Lakers and making a name for himself, teammate John Salley once asked Kobe “So you wanna be the next Michael Jordan huh?”, to which Kobe replied “No, I wanna be the first Kobe Bryant.”
We shouldn’t strive to be other people. We shouldn’t strive to be anyone who we’re not. But we can use those role models, those achievers, those giants as benchmarks of what is attainable with commitment and hard work. The passing of giants in our lives is an opportunity to reflect on the lives lived by others to allow us the opportunity to refocus and summon up the best that lives in all of us.
The beautiful intro artwork for this post is provided by a local artist, Jasper Means. He is a freelance artist, multimedia illustrator, and a proud member of the Pittsburgh Watercolor Society. Find more of his work at JasperMeansArt.com and follow him on Instagram @JasperMeans.