Dear Kobe


Dear Kobe,

Thank you for inspiring all of us in medicine too.


The future of medicine.

From Los Angeles to Manila, sports fans and people that know nothing about sports were shattered by the deaths of Alyssa, John, and Keri Altobelli, Gianna and Kobe Bryant, Payton and Sarah Chester, Christina Mauser, and Ara Zobayan aboard that helicopter on Sunday January 26, 2020 in Calabasas, California. We all knew exactly what we were doing when OJ was found not guilty, when we realized Prince would never perform Purple Rain again, when Whitney was found in her bathtub, and when we found out Robin Williams would never star in a Broadway play of Patch Adams. Kobe’s death will be no different. I was sitting on my couch watching reruns of a show on BET with one of my best friends. We sat there stunned for several hours hoping this was some sort of sick joke, but as every news outlet and social media platform picked up the tragedy, I felt sick.

Death is inevitable. It’s the only thing we know for sure is going to happen to every single one of us. But like I said in my previous blog about being on heart donor call, when the deaths are unexpected and take young people, they are shocking, they are life altering, they are gut wrenching. They remind you that life is fragile and our time here is limited.

Kobe’s legacy will live on forever through the magic he shared with people he knew directly and with people he never met, like myself, who grew up watching him, sometimes hating him because he was destroying your team. His work ethic was unmatched, and his love of the game surpassed every athlete’s of our generation.

What did and can we, as clinicians, scientists, and educators, learn from the Black Mamba?

  • To show up in every single thing we do, every single time
  • To love our family and friends and make them a priority despite how busy we may be
  • To leave the world a better place for future generations coming behind us
  • To inspire those around us to be the very best human beings they can possibly be
  • To inspire people to live their life’s purpose
  • To inspire people to live each day like it’s their very last
  • To bring grit and passion to everything we do
  • To find that fire inside and keep it ignited
  • To set monstrous goals, crush them, and then set even bigger goals
  • To find the things we love doing outside of medicine and do them with our whole heart. I mean, you won an Oscar, Kobe
  • To love deeply
  • To never take no for an answer
  • To bring heart to everything we do
  • To know when it’s time to leave the stage
  • That without obstacles there is no growth
  • That we can be fierce AND kind
  • That there are no ceilings
  • That records are made to be broken
  • That one human being can indeed have a profound impact on the entire world
  • That when we feel like quitting, we should ask, what would Kobe do?

May you, your daughter, and all the passengers aboard that helicopter RIP. Your legacy will live on through all of those you touched. There are no words to express how grateful we are to have been touched by your magic.

So, what legacy are you going to leave behind?


“The views, opinions and positions expressed within this blog are those of the author(s) alone and do not represent those of the American Heart Association. The accuracy, completeness and validity of any statements made within this article are not guaranteed. We accept no liability for any errors, omissions or representations. The copyright of this content belongs to the author and any liability with regards to infringement of intellectual property rights remains with them. The Early Career Voice blog is not intended to provide medical advice or treatment. Only your healthcare provider can provide that. The American Heart Association recommends that you consult your healthcare provider regarding your personal health matters. If you think you are having a heart attack, stroke or another emergency, please call 911 immediately.”