Like several other basketball fans, I glued myself to TNT last weekend ito watch the NBA all-star weekend. This weekend happens every year when the league’s best participate in different events to showcase their various talents.
But what really made this year’s event so memorable was not the unbelievable dunks, or the highlights from the game; it was the story of seven-year-old Rayshawn Bright.
Rayshawn was one of the children displaced by Hurricane Katrina. Following the disaster, sports analyst and former NBA analyst Kenny Smith held a miniature all-star game in Houston where Rayshawn was introduced to his favorite player, Kobe Bryant.
Rayshawn, scared as he could be, walked with the TV reporter to meet Bryant. Afterwards, if I did not know any better, I would have thought they were father and son with the way the two were carrying on.
Since meeting, Kobe has kept in contact and spent time with Rayshawn.
In January, when the Lakers went to Houston to play the Rockets, Rayshawn hung out with Kobe before and after the game.
To watch Kobe take Rayshawn to meet all the players showed me that basketball is bigger than just a game. Bryant could have easily cut the boy’s family a check, but instead he took the time to get to know him.
Some people still realize that there are more important things than money.
Now, for the rest of his life Rayshawn will always remember Bryant, not as his favorite basketball player, but as a great person and friend.
Just imagine if we took a little time to be like Kobe.
It really made me feel good to see Rayshawn smiling.
Because of the hurricane, he has been separated from his family. He now lives with adoptive parents who had their new home robbed last month.
It is sad that it takes a tragedy to make people wake up and decided they want to do something.
This should serve as a wake up call. I would not be here today if people were not in the community teaching young people how to survive and showing them that someone cares about them.
We can make the future brighter for children right here in Tallahassee. Kobe showed me that the best gift you could ever give someone is not your money or your autograph, but your time.
Rayshawn may not remember the autographed jersey Bryant gave him. He’ll remember sitting courtside in Bryant’s lap and the conversations they had.
Thank you Kobe for showing us that it is not about basketball.
Royle King is a sophomore broadcast journalism student from Dallas. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.