Crises have a way of clearing our heads and clarifying our priorities. In the midst of a difficult situation, not unlike the one our world is currently experiencing, it’s easier to focus on what is really important and what really matters.
Rob Pelinka knows what he misses most right now: his best friend Kobe Bryant.
He and the Lakers are in uncharted territory, trying to navigate through the coronavirus pandemic and a potentially lost season. Pelinka told the Los Angeles Times that he finds himself wondering about what his best friend would have done in this moment.
As Pelinka thinks about this season, he tries to imagine how Bryant would have reacted to all the challenges it presented.
“I think in a time like this a friend like Kobe is especially missed,” Pelinka said. “If you were on a nice journey with him and a huge fire-breathing dragon ended up in the pathway, you’d say, ‘OK this is why this is good right now, we’re going to meet this challenge’ … that was just his nature is that obstacles and hard times would lead somehow to growth. That’s the way I’m going to look at 2020, not just in terms of the loss of Kobe but just in general. I think some of these hard times will have to grow through to get stronger.”
First of all, it’s objectively hilarious to think about Kobe crossing paths with a dragon and framing that encounter as a good thing. It reminds me of an anecdote Gary Vitti once shared about Kobe — Vitti said that if Jesus ever came down to Earth and told Kobe he couldn’t do something, Kobe would say, “Why don’t you stick to making water into wine and raising people from the dead, and I’ll take care of this basketball thing.”
In all seriousness, however, at a time when there is so much anxiety and even fear, it’s easy to understand why Pelinka misses Bryant. Kobe Bryant was so focused and certain about his path, what he was capable of, and what the right next move was, regardless of whether he was correct or not. That certainty and that ability to work through difficult situations is something we could all use right now.
Pelinka’s experience is obviously unique during this pandemic because of his personal loss, but his message is universal. This experience will challenge everyone to battle through adversity, and to hopefully grow from it. It seems like Pelinka knows how Bryant would have responded to this moment, and he’s using his late friend’s example to carry on.